Sunday, December 02, 2007

YouTube, GodTube and the art of imitation

I didn't expect it but should have . . . soon after YouTube became very popular out came a Christian version At first no one noticed . . . but as online video distribution has shot through the roof, it is getting some press and attention from the Christian audience.

This Spring I was speaking to a group of journalists on innovation and a Christian journalists asked me why we at HCJB Global weren't using GodTube instead of YouTube. More recently I have had people who question some of the advertised content chastize me for putting things on YouTube.

So where does a site like GodTube fit in to the innovation picture. Along came YouTube and did something incredible - they made video available to the masses in a viral form. This was a true innovation that has impacted many areas of our modern world. Of course now there are many other people who are doing it. YouTube has many competitors including GodTube. But is GodTube innovative? For the most part it looks and feels just like YouTube only with a lower quality experience.

So what is GodTube? Simply put it is marketing. When you have a tool that does the job and someone creates another tool that looks very much like it, the main purpose usually is to focus on one audience in specific. This is not bad at all . . . it is niched marketing. But it is not innovation.

So as you look to create a strategic plan for your video as a ministry, church or personally, what do you put where. It all comes down to audience. If you are looking for a strong evangelical audience go to GodTube. If you are looking for a general audience go to YouTube.

BUT beware . . . usually the audience specific products cannot afford to provide as good of service because they do not have the sheer numbers. So lets say your audience is Christians, you may still engage more of them through YouTube because they are looking for that high quality experience.

Now lets look at the flip side. Because the content is much more controled, if you are looking to market video content to young families, GodTube may be a much better bet because parents will not want their children potentially exposed to some of the negative material on YouTube.

Never let someone convince you that one tool is always better than another. Each has its place. So enjoy the new era of online video - the potential to innovatively deliver your message to people around the world is huge . . . but please think about your audience as you go about your delivery.


Andrew said...

What a shame that so much material on You Tube and the like is worthy rather than creative. Sure there's a pile of junk out there but there's a pile out in the world too. I guess we can hide away in a ghetto and reach the Christians or we can walk the narrow pathway of pilgrimage in the world. It's tough either way.

Compassioninpolitics said...

Interesting post, but I don't understand why innovation is primary. If we were to apply this standard to baseball or basketball, the object is getting it in the hoop. I'm not sure why the path of christians is any different.

Second, God Tube's platform is a platform that empowers creativity across the board. It also empowers communication and community. All three are vitally needed in living out our mission as Christians.

The quality of videos (in terms of content) you find
on God Tube aren't the fault of God Tube.

I think the value of being able to let your child surf on God Tube, which they can't on You Tube is reason enough to justify God Tube.

Finally, I don't think God in heaven is thinking "God Tube--not creative enough....sorry."

I think saying its not creative, without adding to the conversation to make in ways to make it better--isn't exactly an effective tactic for social change in or out of the church.

Just my 2 cents...

Jerry Davison said...

I have to say that as the Media director of my church, I place our content on YouTube and avoid GodTube. Primarily because our strategy is to engage our culture where they are and not demand that they come to us. GodTube,for my taste, is too close to the cocooning mentality of believers retreating into a Christian subculture to avoid contact with "the World." I am not saying that GodTube is bad or doesn't have it's place but for a church that is looking to engage and dialogue with unbelievers, GodTube is not the place.
Having said that, however, there is much to be gained from the networking and encouragement you get from fellow believers. SoI guess it's not a question of "either/or" but rather why not "both/and"?