Media professionals remember that back in the days of the legendary battle between videotape formats VHS and Betamax, the final victory was won by VHS, but few know why. The reason, according to industry experts was that the porn industry made the decision to move to VHS, and because they were such a powerful force in video sales, Betamax (which many experts believed was a better technical format) disappeared off the scene.
Next, we saw saw the porn industry’s power through DVD technology. Variety magazine reported 2 years ago that just as the porn industry re-shaped the internet, it made the change to DVD’s move much faster. With the adult video industry releasing 10,000 new titles per year, its major distributors moved quickly toward DVD-only duplication.
What does this mean for producers of faith based programming? First, we’re once again reminded of how much clout pornography still has in the entertainment and media industries. That’s a sad statement about our culture and something we continually need to address. Second, while we deplore what they do, their impact – though negative – on the media is significant and should be noted.
For instance, it made me realize what a poor job we often do in finding out the preferences of our media audiences. When we sell teaching videos or other media products, it’s important to gauge how people are viewing them. On a positive note, some ministries and churches have stopped selling DVD’s completely in favor of online distribution and podcasting. However, if your media outreach still caters to an older audience, be careful about the switch. You want to offer options, but don’t leave anyone out in the cold.
Let’s get on the cutting edge of the industry, so we don’t let the porn producers determine the future.