It’s anywhere and everywhere you want it to be. At home, in your car, at work, in the coffee shop, on the run, or just kicking back. It’s Trinity Broadcasting Network, America’s most watched faith-and-family network. And now there are more ways than ever to keep in touch with TBN and all its inspirational and entertaining channels.
“It started way back in 1973 with one low-power television station in Southern California,” recalled TBN’s Chief of Staff Paul Crouch Jr. “And in the nearly 40 years since then we’ve grown into the world’s largest religious broadcaster and most requested Christian network, reaching literally every corner of the earth.”
With more and more people accessing programs and video through their mobile devices and smart phones, in the spring of 2010 TBN introduced an exciting new app. for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, giving users access to all of its 24-hour inspirational channels, including TBN’s flagship network, the Church Channel, the JCTV youth network, Smile of a Child kids network, TBN Enlace USA Spanish language network, the Arabic language Healing Channel, and Nejat TV in Farsi.
“We had such an overwhelming response to this revolutionary viewing option that we quickly followed up by adding live viewing capabilities for smart phones like the Blackberry, Android, and Windows Mobile,” said Crouch. “That means smart phone users can now view all of TBN’s networks 24 hours a day, and can even access archives of our most popular programs.”
Crouch noted that in the U.S. alone, TBN has over 81,380,000 cable and satellite subscribers, not to mention the 27 million households it reaches via traditional broadcast. “All told,” said Crouch, “we’re reaching nearly 102,665,000 households every day with wholesome, entertaining, and uplifting programming for the whole family.”
But broadcast is just the starting point for tuning in to all TBN has to offer. “Years ago we realized that computer and digital technology would revolutionize the way individuals view their favorite programs, movies, news, and other video content,” said Crouch. “That’s why we were one of the first networks to offer streaming video on our sites, and today viewers just about anywhere in the world can log on to our Homepage and watch TBN 24 Hours a Day in real time.”
TBN’s homepage also features an exclusive Video Portal where viewers can access the best in classic TBN family movies, along with encore presentations of Praise the Lord, Behind the Scenes, and some of the most watched shows from other TBN channels.
“There’s even a special downloadable TBN Media Player that allows you to watch all five of our most popular networks 24 hours a day right from your computer desktop,” noted Crouch.
Offering its networks to viewers via cell phones and mobile devices is part of a larger TBN strategy of using the latest technologies and most popular social networking applications to make inspirational programming accessible and relevant to the increasing numbers of viewers spending less time watching traditional TV and more time online. “There is a whole segment of young adults today who not only want the ability to watch their favorite shows from their iPhones and mobile devices, but they’re also keyed in to the added dimension of becoming part of the broadcast experience through social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Skype,” noted Crouch. “During programs like TBN’s daily Behind the Scenes, viewers are actually sending in real-time comments and feedback through Twitter and Facebook, and we’re using Skype for live-feed broadcasts and on-the-scene updates.”
Crouch’s son Brandon, who is the third generation Crouch to make television his vocation, is using Skype as a major broadcast platform for his own program Off the Record, which appears weekly on JCTV. The younger Crouch explained that Skype enables him to spontaneously broadcast segments of his show from locales like international airports, major concerts, sports arenas, or even New York’s Times Square, as he did last New Year’s eve. It also allows him to have guests join him from anywhere in the world, as when he contacted a friend in Haiti just hours after the January earthquake, getting an on-air video report of the devastation and need.
He pointed out that there is a new generation of viewers who embrace Christian television, but who aren’t satisfied with just being part of the TV audience any more. “They want to take an active part, to offer their input,” he said. “And with technologies like Skype, along with all the social networking tools available to them, they’re becoming a more and more important part of the television experience.”
Paul Crouch Jr. emphasized that with TBN’s ever-broadening global reach and the increasing options for delivering programming to viewers, it is important to keep the ultimate goal of Christian television front and center. “Our mission today at TBN is the same as it was when my parents started this network with a tiny UHF station nearly 40 years ago,” he said. “And that is to change people’s lives with the hope of the gospel. At the end of the day, our goal is still to make sure the good news is spread to every corner of the earth. And we are thankful for the level at which we’ve been able to do that.”