VidAngel giving free access to families stuck at home over coronavirus

VidAngel announces new filtering system, June 12, 2017. | (Photo: Facebook/VidAngels)

With millions of American families being cooped up in their homes in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the streaming video service VidAngel made its platform free for two weeks to ensure access to family-friendly entertainment. 

The California-based company announced this week that all of its content can be accessed for free without a credit card until March 30, including the platform’s popular original series “The Chosen.”

“We understand how strapped working parents are right now trying to juggle kids at home and work from home, and we also know from personal experience how being away from school and not seeing their friends is a real challenge for all of our kids,” VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon said in a statement Monday.

“That’s why we’re making VidAngel completely free for the next two weeks.”

Harmon hopes that free access to VidAngel’s content will serve as a “relief” to families in the “face of stress.”

“The VidAngel family, just like your own, has an opportunity to pitch in and do whatever we can to help our communities weather this crisis. We hope that in some small way this will help,” Harmon said.

Along with its original content, VidAngel allows families to skip distasteful and objectionable content found on Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and other media streaming platforms by linking their subscriptions.

While no credit card is required to access the content, VidAngel will make users agree to “practice social distancing” during the coronavirus pandemic. So far, the virus has killed over 10,000 people worldwide. There are over 14,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States with 210 confirmed deaths as of Friday. 

Along with "The Chosen" (about the life of Jesus Christ), families will also get access to programs like James Dobson’s teaching series, “Building a Family Legacy,” VidAngel’s original series “Family Night Out,” as well as hundreds of episodes of its family-friendly standup comedy show “Dry Bar Comedy,”  

VidAngel’s announcement comes less than two weeks after the company announced its plan to emerge from bankruptcy. The plan includes a 14-year payoff plan for a $62 million judgment issued against VidAngel last year in favor of Hollywood studio companies.

Leading movie studios had fought VidAngel in court for years, claiming that the organization’s filtering of their products infringed on their copyrighted content. VidAngel argued that the filtering service is protected under the 2005 Family Movie Act.

“After entry of an adverse judgment in an amount that, initially, seemed insurmountable, the company’s business and revenues are growing, and the company is expanding into new lines of business,” VidAngel trustee George Hofmann said in a statement. “According to third-party financial experts hired to advise me in the reorganization process, VidAngel’s robust growth makes paying the judgment in full feasible.”

VidAngel is among several streaming services offering discounts and deals in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

The new Nashville-based children’s digital media streaming app Minno rolled out a free resource called Church at Home for families unable to attend church because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Minno’s free Church at Home program offers families an easy-to-use digital Sunday School experience. 

“Using Minno Church at Home, families can worship, learn, pray together, and download activities with the click of a button on Sunday and throughout the week," Minno CEO Erick Gross said in a statement. "On weekdays, while children are out of school, parents can take advantage of free daily devotionals, as well as selections from our catalog of programming that is always curated on the foundations of care for others.”

LifeWay is also offering a free, in-home children’s Bible study program available to churches that have postponed services due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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