Salt + Light’s website is the hub for streaming its many programs.

Salt + Light takes aim at web world

By 
  • March 22, 2020

Cord-cutting Canadians who are cancelling cable TV services are a conundrum Canada’s Catholic TV service hopes to conquer.

At the beginning of March, Salt and Light Media Foundation launched a gentle rebrand with an ambitious goal. It wants to be a TV station for people who no longer watch normal TV.

“Cord-cutting is a reality,” explained Salt + Light acting CEO Alexander Du. “There’s a lot of change happening in the media distribution world.”

Since 2015 the number of Canadian cable subscribers has been in decline, while streaming service subscriptions (Internet-based providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Crave TV) have increased 24 per cent year over year. By the end of this year there will be more Canadians subscribed to streaming services (10.6 million) than to cable TV (10.2 million), according to the Convergence Research Group.

“You see that happening all over the world,” said Du. “It’s impacting pay and specialty networks like Salt + Light. If someone decides to cord-cut, they no longer have cable. Which means they no longer have access to Salt + Light.”

Salt + Light has for years been available to stream on Roku players, through their YouTube channel and on their website (saltandlighttv.org). But at this point “making the website more video-friendly and more video-centric” has become a priority. It’s all “to align with the longer-term strategy of addressing the issue of cord cutting,” Du said.

Like any other media organization, Salt + Light has found it can’t be haphazard about social media.

“When we designed the new logo it was designed to be optimized on social media platforms, designed to be optimized on streaming video,” Du said. “It just lends itself better to Facebook and Instagram and other platforms where young adults and people are consuming content now — as opposed to watching it strictly on regular, conventional television.”

Du believes updating the brand and the approach to changing technology has everything to do with the original vision for Salt + Light, which was launched after the 2002 World Youth Day as a way of extending the experience of a youthful Church into Canadian homes every day.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that every person watching Salt + Light  is young. Du is quite aware that a large share of the Salt + Light audience watching Mass daily in English and in French is older.

“My experience in discussing faith with that generation, whether it be in a retirement home with seniors or just my own family, they’re very much interested in young adults and what they’re doing,” he said.

Young or old, people do want serious, thoughtful programs that connect with their spiritual lives, Du said.

“The content is the content. How you market it and brand it is a different thing,” he said.

The updating of Salt + Light’s website and social media presence has only just begun and will continue over the coming months in phases, Du said.

“It’s a pretty heavy lift,” he said. “We’re a charity, so we only have so many resources we can bring.”

But in the initial couple of weeks, Du has seen positive feedback. “So I’m very optimistic about how well received it will be in the long term,” he said.

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