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:
- More than 1 in 5 households have cut the cord.
- The number of people leaving cable each year outnumbers those joining.
- 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.
- 65% of US TV households have at least one television set connected to the internet.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!