Last Friday, Variety Magazine sponsored Purpose: A Family Entertainment and Faith Based Summit with a standing room only crowd of over 400 producers, executives and media makers. With the success of Mark Burnet and Roma Downey’s The Bible and with Game Show network’s second season hit with American Bible Challenge, interest in faith friendly and family content is high in Hollywood right now.
The day was full of presentation and panels giving distribution people, producers, advertisers and media makers a chance to speak and listen to each other. Here are five things that came up repeatedly in the day from entertainment industry executives:
- Audiences and Advertisers are looking for Faith and Family Content. These shows and films consistently perform well and have staying power in theaters and on television. Faith and Family content is attractive to advertisers. Walmart Executives in particular noted the positive customer reaction to ads placed within family content. The calculated return on investment ROI was up to 50% higher for such commercials.
- Produce content with industry standards in mind. Good enough for the congregation may not be good enough for a general audience.
- It must be entertaining. The values may be specific to the faith community, but the entertainment value must be universal.
- To have a commercial value they must also have “star power” in terms of actors and/or some kind of a brand- a book, a work from another format, a classic story or character.
- Let the story and images carry the significant messages of the film. If a show is too preachy, didactic or proselytising, your audience is the choir and half of them who claim they have watched will not have.
All these were communicated throughout the day with a sense of encouragement to those who feel called to passionately and professionally create family and faith television, film and other media.