OTT Channels and The Church
Author: John Stewart
December 01, 2022
For any digitally minded church the next progression from podcasting, posting on demand sermon libraries, and live streaming is to host your own Internet TV channel! Now your church can broadcast on-demand video content and live stream broadcasts not only on your website and your mobile apps but also through Apple TV, Roku, Android and Amazon Fire TV.
These channels get your church content into the living room! Live streaming and on-demand viewing on a desktop or on a mobile device is limited. Now with Apple TV, Roku, Android TV and Fire TV your church has the ability to get on the big screen in homes worldwide. Gather your family and friends, it's time for church!
In the past, churches have had to pay thousands monthly, if not tens of thousands, to reach the living rooms of viewers through cable TV and satellite TV air time purchases. With Internet TV your costs are a fraction of that -- roughly $750 set up and $50-$100 per month. Recently BI Intelligence posted that "Traditional TV viewership continues to fall among every major demographic between the ages of 2 and 49" while "Both households with smart TVs and those with connected multimedia devices — such as Google Chromecast, Apple TV, and Roku — increased six percentage points...."
There is no doubt that Internet TV is the wave of the future. Users are no longer willing to tune in at set times to view the content they desire. Users are now searching for on-demand content that they can watch when they want -- in the comfort of their living room. This Netflix-style of content viewing should be adopted quickly by media rich churches and ministries. You have some of the greatest content out there -- now is the time to get it into your own Church Channel.
Some of our clients have used these channels in ingenious ways. Here are a few examples:
Convalescent Home Outreach - a client of ours started an outreach program to the elderly in the community that previously attended their church. They kept hearing how these people missed being a part of the local church now that they had moved into convalescent care. This church had us create their channel and then purchased the $49 Roku sticks for every convalescent home in the area. They helped them set them up and now weekly, as the home members gather in the common area, they play the live stream on the big screen TV! Welcome back folks!
Prison Outreach - Likewise, another client of ours started a prison outreach program and was able to get internet TV boxes installed that allowed the prisoners to become part of the live church experience each week! The pastor makes a weekly shout out to them in service. They are now part of the local church!
Small Groups - Another client had us build out a small group category in their channel. Each small group leader was given (or purchased) an inexpensive Fire or Roku stick (if they didn't have one already). Now at the beginning of their small group fellowship, they gather around the big screen and play this month's small group lead-in video from Pastor! Now Pastor has made an appearance at every small group meeting happening in this church!
In short, Internet TV is here to stay, and consumer use will continue to grow exponentially over the next few years. Churches that produce video content really need to have their channels set up while the market is still young. Let FaithNetwork help set up your channels today!