Creating Content for Your TV App

As you take the first steps in creating your TV App, there are 3 questions you need to ask yourselves:

  1. Who are we creating content for?
  2. How are we going to create the content for our TV App?
  3. What content are we going to distribute to our TV App?

The first question that you have to answer is who are you creating content for. Many people want to use a TV App as a front door to their church or ministry, but often it lives in the middle of your ministry funnel. People don’t often stumble up TV Apps, but as they connect with your ministry they value the opportunity to consistently consume your content in the most effective and convenient way.

As you consider the how you are going to create content for your TV App, quality cannot be undervalued. When it comes to mobile video, quality is often not as important; but when it comes to TV video this becomes a bigger issue. A low resolution video can look great on a phone, but when expanded on a large screen television it can look very pixelated. Also, audio quality is critically important on a TV as the large speakers on a TV need a fuller high quality audio mix. Know that these are all things that can be created inexpensively, but mostly require an attention to detail and a higher value on quality.

So, as you consider some of the content that your ministry might create, here are some suggestions:

  • Live Streamed Services/Events
  • On-Demand Messages
  • Small Group Resources
  • Stories
  • Worship Music
  • Announcement Videos
  • Training Videos

This list could go on. My encouragement is to not put any and every video that you make on your TV app. Be strategic to put the optimal content for those viewing on a TV. The navigation on a TV is different than a website and you want to keep things as simple as possible limiting the clutter.

One of the great things about the TV App platform is how flexible and dynamic the platform is. When you want to make a change in even your menu layout and navigation you have that control and it does not require an app update. It is extremely simple and very easy to manage.

Why Your Ministry Needs a TV App

I first became intrigued by TV Apps about 5 years ago. I had previously worked at a church that broadcast on television and I knew how expensive it was. That broadcast was only local in one city in the United States, but it was very effective and well worth the investment of time and resources based on the impact of these ministry efforts.

I was later drawn to online streaming because it was not only affordable for our church, but also accessible anywhere that the Internet was. So, any church or ministry anywhere could have a global broadcast ministry for a fraction of the cost. It’s unbelievable!

The problem was that the medium that this content was primarily consumed on was a desktop or laptop computer. This is not the medium that most people consume long form content on. The technology shift around streaming media was then to mobile devices which is also not optimal for the type of content that churches are generally creating. A church service is generally longer than an hour and a sermon alone is generally around 30 minutes which is optimal for a television where the optimal time for a mobile video is under 3 minutes.

So, 5 years ago I went down the path of creating a TV App for our church. At that time there was really only 1 option: Roku. There were some major hurdles though: it was complicated and it was expensive.

When asked why we needed one responding with “because we can” just wasn’t good enough. Even though it was confusing and expensive I knew that we could overcome these hurdles. The problem was that not enough people were using a Roku device at that time and it really didn’t make sense as this technology was just so new. So, I waited a little more than a year and even though it was still expensive and still complicated we moved forward. We learned a lot and honestly found it to be quite effective for those who used it. We were still very early to this space, but it definitely opened our eyes to long term possibilities.

Today, things are different:

  • Variety: there are many streaming TV platforms that are available: primarily Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.
  • Cost Effective: the prices of these devices has dropped significantly: x for a Roku stick and x for an Amazon Fire TV stick.
  • Consumer Behavior: thanks to Netflix and Hulu consuming streaming media through a connected TV has become quite the norm rather than the exception.
  • Device Expansion: more and more people are cutting the cable cord and moving to a connected TV device. Take a look at some of the stats below:
  1. More than 1 in 5 households have cut the cord.
  2. The number of people leaving cable each year outnumbers those joining.
  3. Between 20% to 25% of people under the age of 50 plan to cut their cable TV service at some point, and the number is highest among millennials and teens.
  4. 65% of US TV households have at least one television set connected to the internet.
  5. There are actually more connected TV devices in US households than there are pay-TV set-top boxes.

So, let me answer the core question proposed by the title of this blog: why does your church or ministry need a TV App today?

  1. Engagement – you can most effectively engage people through the technologies that they are using more and more. This type of platform also engages in a communal way whereas people often gather together around a TV to watch something rather than a phone or computer.
  2. Effectiveness – as you consider the core media content (long form video) that your church or ministry is creating, it’s hard to imagine a more optimal platform to effectively engage your audience than a TV.
  3. Affordable – TV App has created plans starting at just $75/month with no setup fee. Just a couple of years ago I paid more than $10,000 just for the setup fee just for a Roku channel. Price should no longer be an issue preventing you from having a global TV ministry.
  4. Efficient – TV App takes your existing media platforms and simply integrates them into the platform. Once your app is setup you shouldn’t have to change a thing as it should all fit into your existing workflow with all of the built in automations.

The next question people ask me is how long does it take to build a TV App?

Our answer to this question is always: it depends. We have templates setup and with a designers help we can literally create and submit an app in less than 15 minutes. Often the graphics take longer to create and you do have to wait for Apple, Roku or Amazon Fire TV to accept the app for it to be live in the store. Generally, the process takes less than a week. Currently, the process is taking a little bit longer and that’s only because we have a wait list as the demand is so high for these apps. The longest anyone has had to wait is just a couple of weeks though.

So, what are you waiting for? We would love to partner with you and help you launch your Global TV Ministry today!

Join me at the Social Media Church Summit

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at Social Media Church Summit on November 2-10, 2016!

You’ll be hearing from over 20 of the top social media and digital influencers in the church space - live from your computer from anywhere in the world! Thought leaders like Jeff Goins, Barnabas Piper, Jarrid Wilson, Haley Veturis, Jason Caston and many more will be presenting.  Alejandro Reyes is hosting this exciting event where the speakers are going to show you how to use social media to grow your church from their hands on experiences.

I encourage you to join with me in this once in a lifetime FREE event!

Hurry and get your tickets!

To learn more about the event click the link below.

The Future of the Home

As everything around us continues to get “smarter”, so will our homes. I personally desire for the home to be the place that I disconnect and believe you can do that while also maximizing many of the convenience opportunities of modern technology. Here are some of my predictions around the future of the home:

  • Connected Everything – this is a trend that we are already seeing, but expect to see more. Just as our car has a computer built in to tell us what’s wrong with it, so will our appliances letting us know what’s wrong and likely also alerting the repair company to auto setup servicing. Our refrigerators will know what we’re running low on and likely auto order the things we need like milk or eggs.
  • Immediate Delivery of Anything – you might have seen videos of drones delivering goods for Amazon. This is not a joke and I believe we will be able to have just about anything delivered to us whenever we want it delivered. Meals, groceries, electronics, toiletries, clothes, etc.
  • Powered by Solar and Battery Energy- solar energy has come a long way and Tesla along with many others are developing battery technology to store this energy in a very convenient and efficient way. Just as cars are moving to battery technology, expect homes to do the same and using solar power to charge these batteries in an ongoing basis.
  • Efficiency Galore – not only will homes become more energy efficient, I believe maintenance will also become more efficient. I believe dishwashers will become better with less work to do the dishes, we already have vacuum cleaners to run on their own and expect lawn mowers to do the same as well. In many ways, our homes will maintain themselves making that Honey Do list much shorter.

So, what does this mean for ministries? I believe that while people continue to get busier, they will actually have more flex time at home. I also believe more and more people will be working from home in the next 5-10 years which means they will have less of a commute and even more time at home with fewer chores there. To me this means the opportunity becomes around media engagement. As you create more media content for people to engage with and they become more connected through technology there will be endless new opportunities to engage people in their home environment.

What do you think?

The Future of Transportation

I’m not a car guy, airplane guy or really get into that stuff. The reality is that I use cars, planes and trains on a regular basis to get around. They’re essentially to all of us. While we seen this industry develop steadily with hybrid cars and various safety features, I believe the next decade we will see the greatest innovations in the history of transportation. Here are some of my predictions:

  • Connected Cars – cars will be connected to all of our other devices like our phones, computers, watches, etc. Our maps, our music, our contacts, our favorite places to order from, etc. will all be integrated into our car. Remember when David Hasselhoff used to talk to his car? Well, Siri will likely be a part of most of our driving experiences in the very near future.
  • Self-Driving Cars – it’s no secret that Google has been working on this for more than a decade and Tesla already has autonomous driving cars on the road. This technology is almost readily accessible and will be affordable to most in the next couple of years. Imagine what this means for productivity on your commute if you can now work on emails on the way to work or do something else while in transport. Even more, the safety that comes with computers driving us taking out human error from driving. As a parent of 2 young girls I believe that they will never actually have to learn how to drive. Their first cars will likely drive them. How crazy is that?
  • Shared Ride Services – as our cars get smarter and more connected, they can work for us while we aren’t using them. They can also know where we want to go when we want to go there and pick others up on the commute or give someone else a ride while we are at home sleeping or in the office. So many possibilities around ride sharing as cars become smarter and self-driving. Think Uber without drivers.

Am I crazy?

What does this mean for ministries? For churches, I think this will minimize the need for large parking lots. I also think it means more opportunity for engagement via video as people’s eyes won’t need to be on the road while they are driving and can be focused on a screen. I think in general the media experience will be much different in cars as you will likely have more screens and more streaming opportunities via audio podcasts and video broadcasts.

The future of transportation will sure be interesting and as we better understand the future, there will always be new and exciting opportunities.