Funeral streams adapted to a COVID world

By Jack Waters

IT’S been clear for some time that COVID-19 is here to stay, with businesses and entire industries forced to adapt to meet the ever-changing demands brought about by the pandemic.

The death care industry is no different, with new innovative methods drastically changing the way it will operate for years to come.

Possibly the biggest change to come out of COVID-19 is the growth of funeral streaming services, which make it possible for family members and friends to attend the funeral from the safety of their own homes.

Local funeral company Gregson & Weight, located in Caloundra, Buderim, Noosa and Nambour, have offered live streaming for several years at no extra charge to families.

General manager Luke Gregson said live streaming opened another avenue for those wishing to attend a service without having to worry about the current restrictions in place.

“With COVID lockdowns it has really offered some great comfort to family members and other members of the public who have been unable to personally attend funeral services,” Luke said.

“We have also been offering mobile streaming if the service is at another location and a couple of the local churches have also been able to stream directly to our website when needed.

“With more families living separately around the country and the world, the live streaming has been a really positive initiative and is here to stay,” he said.

Alex Medcalf and George Inggs have been at the forefront of the funeral streaming industry for a number of years after forming Naoca in 2018 while working together at Traditional Funerals in Brisbane.

Naoca projects engineer Matt Vaughan-Jones said Naoca was basically YouTube for funerals, allowing people to be part of the service when they would otherwise be left out.

“We work directly with the funeral homes. They organise the livestreams through our online platform and take care of the actual filming of the service or outsource it to a professional live streamer,” Matt said.

“Our platform makes the whole thing easier than people think. The funeral industry isn’t known for being on the cutting edge of technology and we make live streaming easy for them.”

Matt said there was already a market for funeral live streaming before the pandemic, with COVID-19 only accelerating its growth through necessity.

“When COVID hit we had no choice but to ride the wave and respond to the explosion in demand,” he said.

“In one sense we were ahead of the curve because funeral streaming wasn’t as popular as it is today.

“We are already seeing a huge uptake of streaming and we’ve had viewers from all over the world.

“And it’s not just opportunities for online funeral attendees. There’s even more value for the funeral homes who are now able to provide better support to families, reach a wider audience and grow their business,” Matt said.