Ever since the mid 1990s, when the World Wide Web really began to take off, people have been predicting that CDs and DVDs would be extinct within ten years- replaced by the virtual model.
Instead, the demand for physical media has been growing exponentially, and is expected to do so for the next few years. Providing CDs of messages and music to current and prospective members is still a practical and cost-effective way of expanding outreach.
Don’t Be Dissin’ Disks
Why are the CD and DVD formats still largely popular? Consider the following…
Sense of ownership. Consumers want to own CDs and DVDs of their favorite music, movies and treasured photographs, and inspirational content. “A CD provides people with something they can be proud to own and share with others,” says James Klopfenstein, Senior Broadcast Engineer with Focus on the Family, an internationally syndicated, non-denominational Christian ministry founded by Dr. James Dobson. “Our daily radio program, which airs on over 8,000 stations in 164 countries and 25 languages, is available to listeners on the Internet, but many people want to get a copy of their own. We produce both cassettes and CDs which can be ordered by phone or on our website, www.family.org”
Portability and access anytime, anywhere. “Most people don’t have MP3 technology yet for quality downloads,” says Barbara Zimmer, IT Director for Speak the Word Church International in Golden Valley, Minnesota. “We go by demand and have not had any requests for an MP3 format. We find that most of our members listen to our messages and music in their cars,” says Zimmer. CDs can also be enjoyed during a flight and at any destination in the world by members, travelers or missionaries, with or without computer access. In addition, local houses of worship may have parishioners who are in nursing homes or homebound and do not have access to a computer.
CDs are very inexpensive, about 30 to 40 cents, and DVDs are rapidly approaching similar pricing. Any duplication equipment purchased by a worship center will quickly pay for itself if worship centers charge even a minimal fee for the discs.
Ability to archive
If manufactured and stored with care, discs will last indefinitely. They are also durable when passed along. “People often want to help friends and family by passing our CDs along to them,” says Klopfenstein. Of course, discs also provide protection from computer viruses and crashed hard drives.
Building a Brand
CDs and DVDs are excellent means of spreading the word, but content accounts for only one side of a disc’s real estate. Why not follow the music industry’s example of complementing the beauty of content with high-quality artwork on the label? Unlike cassettes, discs have room for substantial labels, which can be utilized to build an organization’s image and brand.
Speak the Word Church International, for example, has an in-house graphics department that creates attractive labels and packaging for individual discs and sets. “We’re on TV throughout the U.S. and the world,” says Zimmer. “Following a broadcast, viewers can order the services on CD over the phone or via our website, www.speaktheword.org. We label and package them for a highly professional presentation.”
Worship centers produce new material at least once a week- sermons, choir, radio ministry, special pageants and more- material that should be distributed to members on demand, in a quality, professional format. When members or prospective members visit a worship center’s website to learn more about the organization, they want to be able to order sermons and other material in the preferred physical media of their choice. Contrary to some opinion, CD’s continue to be a media that should not be counted out of the game.