For the first time since 1992 – the year Johnny Carson left the late-night stage, President-elect Clinton took the national stage, and Jack Nicholson stole the stage because a certain man in a certain uniform couldn’t “handle the truth” – fewer American homes own a television.
According to The Nielsen Company, the Advanced/Preliminary TV Household Universe Estimate (EU) for 2012 reflects a decreasing of homes with that familiar blue glow inside. U.S. homes owning a television declined from 98.9 percent to 96.7.
Not a free fall. Not a drastic drop. But a drop, nonetheless. A decline. A downward tick on a demographic that never goes down.
What does this mean? With the increased popularity of streaming video, the trend of mobile devices, movie kiosks dotting the landscape, and that all too convenient DVD-in-the-mailbox available wherever mailboxes exist, is the age of television getting unplugged? And if so, what does that mean for television ministries? Is this a good trend or a dangerous one?
Let’s tune in and find out. The answer might thrill you.
Other than the changing face of media consumption, there are other factors contributing to this television dip. For one, the economy. Nielsen notes the decrease in TV penetration started in the second quarter of 2009.
For two, the digital transition. Not everyone wanted to spend money on a new television or a converter box and instead purchased a computer. If there was a time for a household to shift their media viewing preferences, that was the time. Nielsen noted a dip occurred right after the transition.
For three, you guessed it. Media consumption is shifting. There are laptops and iPhones and iPads and Rokus and Apple TVs and Google TVs and…sucking in a breath…we’ll stop there. Instead of the American public viewing their media on that trusty television and sticking to one viewing platform, they are diversifying. And how.
For television ministries, this doesn’t have to be bad news. In fact, with a little tweaking, this could actually increase message penetration. Tweak, however, we must.
The message need not change. This isn’t about changing what you say but the time it takes to say it. Television consumption is different than Internet consumption. Time is King. Or, at the very least, a brawny Queen.
Television has always been viewed as a destination. When a viewer sits down with remote in hand, they expect hour programs to last an hour, half hour programs to last half an hour, and commercial breaks to take two to four minutes. Viewers commit to time frames and generally stick with it to the end.
Internet consumption is nearly the opposite. If television is the destination, Internet is the journey. While on that journey, the viewer may decide on a whim to stay on the highway or take the back roads, shoot north or pivot southeast, drive at maximum speed or ditch the car and backpack across country. It’s an open road of information freedom. All buyer’s choice. They have control to stay, go, come back, go again. And, to add to the appeal, there is no time commitment.
You may get them to click on your video only to have them click back off again within seconds. Even commercials online come with a little timer in the corner so the viewer can watch those agonizing 30-seconds dwindle down.
If you are strictly a television media ministry, this is good news. Yes. Good. The jump-up and-down kind. Online streaming of your full-length program is still viable. Strike that. Viable and valuable. Strike that. Viable, valuable, and necessary.
Here’s the change part: It just can’t be the only approach to your online video presence.
In this case, yes it is. The web invasion means creating a multi-pronged approach to reach a diverse audience. It means continuing that stellar television broadcast, while adding web-based copy primed for viewers previously unreachable.
Oooh…we thought you’d never ask.
Shorter is best. For a truly successful transition from television ministry to a television and web ministry, almost everything but your message must change. That means – in addition to your longer form content – producing videos of five minutes or less. Not 30 minutes. Definitely not 60. In fact, when we say “less”, we mean it. Three minutes. Two minutes. Think condensed. Think focused.
Make the moments count. Even though “time” is queen or king, tough to tell them apart, content is also royalty. Unless you have a strong takeaway, a truly meaty point or position, even a two-minute video will get clicked off within seconds. Internet viewers are information consumers. They are absorbing as much relevance in as short a time as possible.
So give them additional roads to travel, trails off the beaten path, beaten paths they’ve never seen, scenic views throughout the ride. Make it fun, relevant, creative, poignant. And, of course, brief.
Share and share alike. Enable your online viewer to spread the word for you. If they love it, they’ll want to share it. Make it easy for them. Create easily accessible links, as well as ways to share the video on Facebook and Twitter. Like a quick link. Or a share button.
Not only does this create ways to get your community talking about you, it gets them talking to each other. Relationships are then made.
If you speak their online language, giving them as much bang for their timed buck, they’ll visit again. With their backpack. With their walking shoes. With a glint in their eye. And the expectation you know the way to a beautiful journey.