Since the Internet began to take off in the mid 1990s, there have been many attempts by Mormon entrepreneurs to translate various e-commerce approaches into something that will work for the Mormon market. For example, back in 2004 I discussed Latter Day Tunes, an attempt at an online MP3 store for the Mormon market. It’s now defunct.
Three other ventures have started up over the last year, each a Mormon take on a very successful video content site. What’s interesting is how each of them reflects the two major difficulties of online LDS commerce: 1. The monetization and scale issues that all Internet businesses face 2. The difficulty of establishing the parameters of what a Mormon/LDS business should stock so that it doesn’t offend it’s audience, but also has enough selection to make it worthwhile to go there, but also doesn’t dilute the Mormon-ness of it.
1. The newest venture is called LDS Movie Rentals. It’s a Mormon version of Netflix. Subscribers pay a monthly fee to be mailed a DVD (or two). When they return the DVD, they get mailed another. At my last count, they had more than 180 titles.
2. The second newest venture is Mormon Web TV. It’s basically a YouTube aggregator. It takes YouTube videos that are Mormon-themed and embeds them in its own interface. In addition to tagging/categorizing the videos, the Mormon Web TV team highlight specific ones that they think are the most interesting/humorous/well-made, etc. and provides a sentence or two about the video and/or the people behind it (and often a link out for more information). It currently has 351 videos.
3. The oldest venture is is iShows2Go. It’s a download site for mobile content (or for watching on a laptop or desktop), an iTunes of sorts. It offers download of videos from content partners for a onetime fee (usually $1.99 to $10.99). Downloads are in iPod and WMA formats. For movies, it also provides a link to various online stores to buy the DVD. Continue reading “Mormon versions of Netflix, YouTube and (sort of) Itunes”