Online streaming in many forms is becoming a primary way that viewers see films and videos. On January 14, Music Business Worldwide reports that “…YouTube Red is expected to launch in Europe this year, and its roadmap to arriving just got a boost – in the shape of a llicense for the UK and Ireland from PRS (for music)…” YouTube Red is a paid-for subscription service that provides a way viewers to pay for ad-free YouTube videos.
On January 13, The Drum reports on YouTube Red and states, “It feels like ancient history since Google made headlines in 2006 by acquiring an up-and-coming, 65 employee, video website start-up known as YouTube… The company had been founded just 18 months earlier by former Paypal employees, and had quickly catapulted itself into a dominating market position, in what was then a very different internet. At the time of the purchase, YouTube had 72 million visitors per month and visitors were watching 100 million videos a day. Today, the site has well over one billion unique visitors per month with visitors watching approximately five billion videos per day.”
The Drum states that YouTube mobile alone reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the country. If Red gets just 10% of those one billion users to subscribe, that’s 100 million subscribers, which would far exceed Netflix’s 69 million. YouTube also has a dominating international presence with 80% of its views from outside the U.S.
Whether viewers watch with ads or not, there are many excellent educational and artistic videos on YouTube. Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s video series on YouTube, “How Shall We Then Live?” about the rise and decline of Western thought is the top pick. With its historical overview of the development and interrelationships of philosophy, science, and religion, it enables viewers to see the whole flow of history (the whole forest) and to understand specific events or developments (the trees) within the context of the historic whole (the forest). Dr Schaeffer makes extensive references to art and architecture reflections of the changing patterns of thought over time. This is one of the most brilliant and insightful presentations of Western history, thought, and culture. These videos are especially valuable for our time.
Other timely and insightful videos are on the complex and multi-layered history of Jerusalem and the Holy land, such as “7 Days in the Holy land, with Franklin Graham,” “From Christ to Constantine,” and others.
A top pick video that is in the process of development as a feature movie is “The Butterfly Circus.” This short film is the story of a circus troupe traveling through the devastated American landscape during the Great Depression. The troupe has included performers that others have discounted but who have become beautiful in the troupe. During the troupe’s travels they come across a man without limbs in a carnival sideshow, but with the troupe he rises to inspiring heights that few ever thought possible.
Ballet Magnificat, a professional touring Christian ballet company, has many wonderful videos on YouTube. The best of sacred choral videos with orchestra, such as that of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and others of this caliber, are found on You Tube. Churches with good cinematographers are posting artistic videos, such the brief introduction to the history and vision of the First United Methodist Church of Temple, Texas, in their video “Shine!” on YouTube.
YouTube is reaching the world with excellent artistic and educational videos through its free and paid services. Those who want to serve the world with valuable, helpful, and redemptive content can easily post good videos on YouTube or set up YouTube channels.