Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are planning to launch a subscription-based streaming service for faith-based viewers as part of MGM's LightWorkers entertainment.
“They are looking to expand and provide direct to consumer content for a very large and underserved segment of the population,” a representative for Downey told The Christian Post on Thursday.
Since its inception in 2016, LightWorkers entertainment has been known for avoiding sexually explicit scenes, gratuitous violence and profanity in its content. On social media alone, LightWorkers content has garnered millions of video views and Burnett and Downey are hoping to keep the momentum going with a new streaming service.
The couple, who are proud of being "Hollywood's noisiest Christians," are seeking a strategic and capital partner to assist in launching the new streaming service.
According to people close to the matter, Burnett and Downey, who brought the history-making miniseries “The Bible” to TV, are looking to raise $100 million to launch the streaming service.
Although LightWorkers is owned by MGM, the production and distribution giant has agreed to allow the husband and wife duo to raise money from outside sources.
“Under former CEO Gary Barber, MGM was reluctant to invest heavily in the service. After he departed, Burnett approached MGM Chairman Kevin Ulrich about the company allowing the couple to raise money from outside sources. Ulrich and the rest of the MGM board was open to that,” The Information reported on Monday.
Downey’s representative told CP that the LightWorkers team feel a “real need for more focused” content among the increasingly competitive general video entertainment space. Just this month, Apple launched its Apple TV Plus service. Disney is gearing up to launch its streaming service Disney Plus on Nov. 12, and AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Comcast’s NBCUniversal are also expected to jump into the streaming market in the near future. The market is presently ruled by Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
LightWorkers will stand out among the other major high-profile mainstream services, however, because of its Christian-themed content. If $100 million is raised for its launch as anticipated, it will most likely be the leading streaming service among the other faith-focused services, such as Pure Flix, The Dove Channel, and 24 Flix.
Burnett and Downey have become one of the leading couples in Hollywood creating family-friendly, faith-based productions. Their film “Son of God" beat box office expectations in 2014, earning $67 million worldwide.
With millions of followers and views online, LightWorkers’ platform has experienced a “4,000% growth year-over-year,” Downey’s representative said.
“As part of their development lineup, Downey and LightWorkers have secured the rights to two best-selling Christian series of novels: New York Times best-sellers Karen Kingsbury’s The Baxters and Debbie Macomber’s Angels Everywhere,” the spokesperson told CP. “LightWorkers is wrapping production on its 36 episodes of ‘The Baxters’ starring Downey, and prepping for the series ‘Angels Everywhere.’”
Both series are being made specifically for the upcoming SVOD service.