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Vatican Netflix? Not quite, but new streaming service will offer films inspired by Christianity

© Vativision

John Burger - published on 06/07/20

VatiVision to focus on "quality contributions to art, culture and faith."

With 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, one would certainly think there’s a market for a streaming video service promoting Christian values through film.

Two Italian companies think so. Vetrya, an Italian digital research and innovation agency, and the production company Officina della Communicazione announced Thursday the creation of VatiVison, a service to stream films, documentaries and programs with religious content on all digital media.

VatiVison will be available in Italy beginning Monday and plans to expand to other “primary” target countries, such as the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Colombia, the Philippines, and Poland, Crux reported. It will offer original programming such as Lourdes, a documentary, and the 2018 television series The Great Popes, about Popes John XXIII, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. The model will be on-demand, like Apple iTunes, rather than a subscription service like Netflix.

Paolo Ruffini, head of the Vatican communications department, emphasized in a press conference that the project is not an enterprise of the Church or the Vatican but comes from “business people who understand how much demand there is in the world for this type of product.” He said the platform will allow people to “access content of quality and value that would be otherwise unobtainable, lost or forgotten,” according to Catholic News Service.

The Vatican has backed the project, Ruffini said, but will not have control over its content. Crux explained:

Elizabeth Sola, an administrative delegate for VatiVision, said the service’s editorial committee will have representatives from the Catholic Church, cultural experts, and experts in art and cinema. The idea in collecting films, series and documentaries to feature, she said, was not to have “an overabundance of content,” but to choose items that have “personality” and fit clearly with their editorial line, which focuses on quality contributions to art, culture and faith.

According to Broadband TV News, the Officina della Comunicazione, a Bergamo-based company that has 75% interest in VatiVision, has been working for many years with the Centro Televisivo Vaticano. CTV was founded in 1983 by Pope John Paul II and became Vatican Media in 2017.

“This has enabled nearly 50 productions to be produced, including documentaries, films and series, in particular with the collaboration of RAI, Discovery, Sky and TV2000, the audiovisual network of the Italian episcopate,” BroadbandTV News said.

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