BYUtv is in the middle of its newest season of programming and if you haven’t tuned in recently, you might be surprised by the amount of quality content available.
Andra Duke, the director of content for BYU Broadcasting, says BYUtv is making deliberate steps to provide content that entertains, inspires, uplifts and improves lives. She says they’re also trying to make it “broadly enjoyed by a co-viewing audience.”
“We focus a lot on service, on kindness, on interactions with families,” she said.
Duke is also looking for and developing programming that isn’t necessarily religious in nature but includes faith journeys as part of the nature of the character or show. One new show that does this is called “How I Got Here.” It follows people on their journeys to learn about their heritage and how they came to live in the place they live.
“The heart of our brand, we say, is really in this space of values. These look up moments, things where we’re looking for faith journeys that may not be people of our faith. It’s just, what does this mean in our life and how does it make a public good, as a societal good the things that come out of faith-based institutions I think we see just tremendous outcomes because of that,” Duke said.
While BYUtv is owned by Brigham Young University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Duke says they’re reaching a broader audience through their family programming.
“I don't know another entity, media content entity like us, anywhere, quite frankly,” she said. “Yes, we want it to be entertaining and we want it to inspire, and we also want to explore, where it makes sense, explore those journeys of faith as they apply to our content.”
People are starting to take notice. Duke says as BYUtv continues to engage with production companies and media companies they’re recognizing the quality of programming that will come from their projects. She shared a story about a sales associate at a conference having a conversation with another person and they asked about who was involved. When they found out BYUtv was involved, they knew it would be a good project.
“That's what we're looking for. We want our brand to be distinctive for a specific type of content and the way that it feels and the themes that it puts forward,” she said.
BYUtv has collaborated with BBC Studios for shows like “The Canterville Ghost” mini-series and the show "Mallery Towers." It has also worked with Shaftsbury Films for one of its newer series called “Ruby and the Well,” which is one of BYUtv’s high-end projects.
“I think of it as ‘Goonies' meets ‘Touched by an Angel.’ It’s got all of that hope and uplift that we look to bring. That’s universal and people are looking for that in their lives,” Duke said.
Another new show to look for is “Saving Me.” It’s an animated show about “A super genius billionaire” who “goes back in time to teach his 11-year-old self to be a better person.” Duke says it’s as if Scrooge meets “Back to the Future.”
BYUtv also continues its reality shows like “Relative Race,” “Wizard of Paws,” “Making Good” and “The Fixers: Building Hope.”
Look for other content that is religious in nature too. Angel Studios’ “The Chosen” will release its upcoming season 3 on the channel. “Grace Notes,” “Music and the Spoken Word,” “Come Follow Up” and more and available.
Its BYU sports programming is also available with “Sports Nation” and coach-led shows like “BYU Football with Kilani Sitake” and “BYU Basketball with Mark Pope.”
There are also movies and other shows BYUtv acquires to broadcast on the channel. Duke says as they find programming, they know they’re delivering on a promise.
“We’re really working to create this distinctive brand. That it means something,” she said. “That you know what type of content you’re going to get … We’re just trying to have that content mean something. They know what the brand promise is when they view our content.”