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VidAngel CEO discusses ‘The Chosen,’ changing media culture (+podcast)

Opinion editor Boyd Matheson gets an inside look on his latest episode of “Therefore, what?”

In a world that is starving for family content, VidAngel has played a critical role — but not always a successful role. Through failures, through opposition and through connection, its is creating something that is sweeping the globe.

Ironically, through a series focused on the life of Jesus Christ called “The Chosen” with a crowd-sourced funding mechanism and a pay-it-forward model, they are literally changing entertainment today. VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon joins us on this edition of “Therefore, what?”

Boyd Matheson: As we approach the Christmas holiday, as you’ve gone from producing “The Chosen” to actually seeing it on your own screens and have people comment on it, what have you learned in that process?

Neal Harmon: What a great question, Boyd. I’ve learned that super small efforts and super small things — just regular individuals — can have a huge impact on our culture. I can’t put it any other way. I think the reason we started VidAngel is because we felt powerless about our culture. And we saw it going in a direction that we didn’t necessarily want our families to go. And I didn’t realize the kind of power that comes from the efforts of individuals.

I mean, this starts with Dallas (Jenkins, director of “The Chosen”) and VidAngel coming together, and then it grows to 19,000 people helping it, and then it grows to hundreds of thousands of people paying it forward. And then it grows to 180 countries. We underestimate our ability to do the very best we can in the place that God has put us in our lives, to actually change the culture around us. And it just makes me really hopeful about the future.

It’s hard to have hope in 2020. But I have lots of hope. And 2020, for us, has been one of the greatest blessings, because we discovered the pay-it-forward model, the world got shut down, and guess what? A lot of the people out there wanted to watch “The Chosen.” And “The Chosen” was just, you know, imbued with light and hope and a message about salvation, and that we can all change. And that happened because some individuals just stepped forward to try to help change the culture.

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