A British crematorium will offer a new “pay-per-view funeral” service for the friends and families of the dead who are unable to attend the service. they can watch the service remotely from their computer.
Southampton Crematorium in UK, owned by the local city council, will begin this service today for a small fee of £75 ($150) per family.
The critics ridicule this service and say Web-casting solemn ceremonies is macabre.
The crematorium manager's, Trevor Mathieson, defended their service and told Guardian newspaper:
It's not as if we're Sky and broadcasting Premier League football. We're not putting the services on to the internet for anyone to watch. Security is very important. It's all about offering a better service to people who are bereaved.
He said a digital camera will be placed discreetly in a corner and capture the ceremony. Whoever wants to watch this service will pay the fee and will be provided a username and password to watch the online transmission.
The company will offer a DVD of the funerals for £50 ($100) and audio recordings for £25 ($50).
It's not everyone's cup of tea…Some people will think it's not the done thing. But we live in a world where family members live all over the place. A lot of people cannot make it to a crematorium.
Not everyone endorses this service in local Southampton.
The Rev. Gary Philbrick, area dean for Southampton, said there are some good things about the idea but he has some reservations about being filmed during a funeral.
Some accused the Southampton city council for trying to make profit out of it, while the city council said it will just break even. Mathieson said they are not making blockbusters in crematorium.
Henry Powell and Sons, which has done this service before, said they had organized some funerals on a trial basis and showed them on a webcast in Canada and Australia and received positive responses.
John Childs lost his wife recently and he took part in one of those trials, was very happy with it. His son had to miss the funeral because of his work and had to return to Australia. His son watched the webcasting from Australia. Childs said he was happy with this service.
Already, many parts of a funeral are run like a business, so this pay-per-view model will be another feature added to the industry. Watching it in person will be much better and more respectful to the dead than watching it on the Internet, in my opinion.
Do you support broadcasting funeral services over the Net?