(RNS) — Sony Pictures announced Thursday (Nov. 12) it is purchasing Pure Flix’s evangelical Christian video-streaming service launched in 2015 as a family-friendly competitor to Netflix.
The streaming service will become part of Sony’s Affirm Entertainment, which also includes Affirm Films, the division responsible for popular faith-based films like “Miracles From Heaven,” “War Room” and last year’s “Overcomer.”
“Pure Flix is a natural fit with our Affirm brand, which is known for its high quality, uplifting, inspirational content,” said Keith Le Goy, Sony president of Networks and Distribution, in a statement to the LA Times.
“Pure Flix has done an amazing job building a robust community of engaged subscribers, and we look forward to continuing to grow and delight audiences with well-curated faith and family entertainment,” the statement continued.
Pure Flix was founded in 2005 as an evangelical Christian entertainment production company before expanding into video streaming.
The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company has produced the “God’s Not Dead” series and a 2017 adaptation of author Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ.” The production side is not part of its deal with Sony.
The streaming service describes its programming as “safe” and “Christ-centered.” That includes not just overtly Christian TV shows and movies, like those produced by Pure Flix, but also what it calls “clean classics”: among them, “The Dick van Dyke Show,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” Shirley Temple’s “A Little Princess” and a number of Westerns like John Wayne’s “Angel and the Badman.”
Its mission, according to its website, is “to create God-honoring entertainment that strengthens the faith and values of you and your family.
“Let’s inspire together to be a transformational voice in entertainment that is free from uncomfortable surprises for you and your family. Feel at ease with a safe place for streaming.”
Membership plans begin at $6.95 per month for a yearly subscription.
Neither Pure Flix nor Sony has disclosed financial details of the sale, according to the LA Times.
Pure Flix confirmed on its blog Thursday that its CEO, Michael Scott, and co-founder and chief content officer, David A.R. White, who often appears in its films, will join Affirm to develop future programming for the streaming service.
“Get ready for an even better experience of faith-based family content, and an even greater ability to influence the culture for Christ,” reads the post on its website.
The LA Times reported faith-based films have “proved reliably profitable” for Sony. The latest film by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, “Overcomer,” was filmed on a $5 million budget and brought in $38 million last year. “Miracles in Heaven,” which starred actress Jennifer Garner, grossed $74 million worldwide on a $13 million budget.
Major film studios have taken an interest in such movies since the Kendricks Brothers’ 2006 surprise hit “Facing the Giants,” filmed with the help of the church they pastored at the time, showed evangelical Christians were eager to support entertainment that affirmed their faith and values in ways they felt mainstream Hollywood films did not.