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Serving Christian Consumers Right

2 Oct, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Some interesting tidbits emerged at Home Media Magazine's Christian Entertainment Symposium, a one-day event we threw last week at the Universal Sheraton in Universal City, Calif., to kick off our ambitious new faith-based initiative.

For those of you unfamiliar with what we are doing, we have partnered with Peter Marmon, president of Christian Entertainment Review Inc., to help studios efficiently and effectively cater to the Christian entertainment market. Our new bimonthly magazine, Christian Entertainment Review, launched recently; it was mailed to all our subscribers, polybagged with Home Media Magazine, and was also mailed on its own to more than 9,000 dedicated Christian retailers around the country.

Still to come are a Web site, a weekly e-news blast and a Faith DVD Conference, tentatively set for next April.

At our introductory symposium, experts such as Scott Rolfe of the Dove Foundation, Dan Lynch of Thomas Nelson and Mike Snowden of Mardel tossed out all sorts of interesting facts and statistics about a market, it appears, all the studios are now bent on breaking into, following the successful lead of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, with its The Passion of the Christ experience and subsequent launch of its Fox Faith line.

For starters, ‘G'-rated movies on average perform 11 times better in theaters than ‘R'-rated movies. There's a great need for family-friendly product at Christian retailers, and it doesn't have to be Biblical or religious stories — films such as Secondhand Lions can find a loyal audience among Christian consumers, even though there's nothing overtly religious about them. On the flip side, experts cautioned, not everything you might think would work actually does. Night at the Museum unbuckled a good length of the Bible belt solely because of its pro-evolution undertones.

There is a fine line between content that works at Christian retailers and content that doesn't. Studios, of course, would like to maximize this channel's potential, but one wrong move could put them in the doghouse for a long, long time.

Fortunately for us, we're on the right path. Teaming up with a veteran Christian entertainment marketer gives the “secret handshake” that's necessary to succeed in this business. Our plans are lofty and grand, but then again, so is this market's potential.

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