While admittedly we had some fun earlier in the week with the Southern Baptist Convention resolution to ban the sale of a DVD from its denominational retail chain’s stores, the story raises the more serious issue of finding quality entertainment for the whole family that’s not too boring and not too ‘edgy.’
The Christian bookstore — in either its traditional form or its modern, online counterpart — is supposed to be the place where you can trust that the products carried have gone through appropriate filters. Similarly, Christian radio stations — especially a few years ago — regularly applied the word safe to their tag lines to describe the type of music they offered.
But with DVDs being the only real growth area for the Christian products industry, an opportunity was seized very quickly. Chain “A” will verify that Chain “B” is carrying a particular title, and include it in their catalog. But it is hard to know how many people were part of the wisdom to promote the title at Chain “A.”
- There are retailers selling family-friendly DVDs that would never consider selling family-friendly fiction books; they would contend there is simply too much good product from Christian publishers
- There are companies selling family friendly DVDs that would never consider the idea of family-friendly music; they would question the idea of anyone being qualified to make that decision and the wisdom of investing their inventory dollars in secular music
- There are Christian stores selling family-friendly DVDs that would never consider selling family-friendly plaques and picture frames; they would (rightly, I think) argue that there should be something distinctive (Christian symbol, verse of scripture) that makes the product something a Christian store would want to include.
But the dramatic movies and children’s DVDs somehow break through the wall; which means you as a customer don’t know for sure what you’re buying until you’ve read online reviews and studied the product packaging for warnings; and the people who do make product specifically targeting the Christian consumer now have to compete with every other family-friendly video producer out there.