Friday, December 26, 2008

Online Video Gets Religious, A JellyTelly Christmas Tale

This post comes by way of an Ooyalagram: VeggieTales Founder Phil Vischer Stirs up Holiday Spirit with Online Christmas Videos by JellyTelly.

Faith-based media production is big business and online video is no exception. It's been almost 20 years since Phil Vischer created the popular animated faith-based VeggieTales in the early 1990s which conveyed Christian moral themes and taught Biblical values and lessons. Some may recall the controversy in September 2006, when VeggieTales aired on NBC and the network edited out most references to God to comply with broadcast standards. Notably missing was the program's signature sign-off, "Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much."

Fast forward to November 2008 when Jellyfish Labs, Vischer's new media startup, released a series of Christmas videos now available through its website, The one- to three-minute web videos were created to spur dialog regarding the meaning of Christmas. Vischer, with a five-person startup, is racing to get ready for his company's official mid-January website launch. He felt compelled to create the videos after surveying this year's holiday programming lineup offered by the major media outlets.

After analyzing the analytics and listening to feedback from viewers, they realized their original content was more popular than the licensed content. They decided to use puppets for the Christmas videos because they were the most popular. The analytics also helped firm up their decision to show their daily shows on their homepage (vs. through the subscription). They'll be doing that soon.

With and its video technology partner, Ooyala, Vischer has essentially created his own "mini-network'' -- and in doing so, the freedom to "narrowcast" his message. With Ooyala's video player, Jellyfish Labs will be releasing the new holiday content daily until year's end on the site. Since November, JellyTelly has been quickly growing its audience, many of whom were fans of Veggie Tales.

Ooyala: How do you hope parents and kids watch these?
Phil Vischer: "Any way they want! We're trying to give parents the controls. We're giving them access to a weeks worth of content at a time, and within that week they can watch any segment at any time. Didn't quite understand our explanation of Hannakah? Go back and watch it again! And again! If we make it funny, kids will watch again and again. The more kids watch, the more they learn. The more they learn, the more parents appreciate what we're doing and blog about it and spread the word to their friends. Answering kids questions topically around the year (What's Valentine's Day? Who came up with the Easter Bunny?) brings our "mini-network" to life and tells families they need to keep tuning in to see what we're going to explain next. In the old days, only the broadcast networks could program this way, so niche audiences were out in the cold. Now, if you can find an audience, you can have a network. It's a whole lot of fun."
Some sample videos, including the Christmas content, can be previewed at the bottom of this link: Other videos can be viewed for free over the next 30 days by subscribing to the videos on the JellyTelly homepage.

Read the full press release Hot on Video: HO! Ho! JellyTelly Christmas Online Videos

About Jellyfish Labs
Jellyfish Labs is the creative shop founded by Phil Vischer to develop faith-based projects for kids and families. Prior to founding Jellyfish, Phil started Big Idea Productions and led the team that brought VeggieTales to life. With a small group of veterans from Big Idea, Jellyfish Labs is working on new Christian family media projects. In November of 2008, the company began
previewing Jelly Telly, an interactive, online "mini-network" for Christian families. The official launch of is scheduled for early January 2009. For more information, visit and

Contact: Allison Martin, 615.599.9392 x. 2000

About Ooyala
Ooyala is a video technology company that provides an integrated platform enabling the delivery, management, and monetization of high quality video content. Committed to providing the most accessible and comprehensive video solutions to companies worldwide,Ooyala's services are easy to use, quick to deploy, and customizable. Its modular and distributed framework allows Ooyala to integrate seamlessly with existing systems and scale to millions of concurrent users. Ooyala's partner portfolio includes 100s of media companies including Bebo, TV Guide, Glam, and Electronic Arts. Free trial Backlot accounts can be created by clicking here: For more information please visit

Alexa Lee, Ooyala Marketing, 415.707.9467