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Christian Media

Christian Media Has a Big Future in the Ultra-Connected World

Research and advisory firm, Forrester Research has released its “Mobile Trends” and “Marketing Predictions” for 2013. The greatest potential of a connected world is its impact on Christian Media.

Ultra-connected world

These two reports from Forrester indicate that broadcasters and churches may have to make a few changes to reach their target audiences online.

Connected TV not a gimmick

In its “2013 Mobile Trends for Marketers,” Forrester says there are 1 million apps available, and globally, 150 million tablets and 1 billion smartphones in use.

Three conclusions for Christian Media:

1. Connected TV devices are more than a gimmick. Christian broadcasters and media ministries should not see connected devices as just gimmicky shiny objects.

By 2017, more US households will have a connected TV than connected game console or connected Blu-ray player.

Driving the growth will be the availability of an increasing number of movies and TV shows via online streaming services, and a shift in consumers’ preference for watching more online video content via their TVs.

2. Time spent in cars and in front of a TV “still” huge opportunity. Throughout history when ground breaking technologies have been introduced, Christian broadcasters and media ministries have recognized the opportunity and seized it. Religious broadcasters shouldn’t ignore the early opportunities to start experimenting with apps and services that can engage perpetually-connected consumers with the gospel via Connected TV’s and Connected Cars.

3. Online video is the “crown jewel” of future media ministry opportunity. As mobile grows, so does the use of video on smartphones and tablets (which Forrester looks at as distinct from a smartphone and more as a kind of hybrid PC).

The scale of the numbers is off the charts, but what is more important, mobile devices and their connectivity are fundamentally shifting how people behave. Christian media organizations will have to shift how they interact with audiences to be effective.

Cross-Channel, Omni-channel and Multichannel

By the end of 2013, nearly half of online adults globally will be always addressable, fueled by the increased adoption and utility of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices, says Forrester in its “2013 Interactive Marketing Predictions.”

Four conclusions for Christian Media:

1. Media ministry will be interconnected. Christian organizations will need to seamlessly integrate the seeker’s experience across all channels of interaction because the user will expect it—including websites, mobile and streaming video platforms, social networks, direct mail and online stores. Although, as with mobile, there will have to be a change in the way these mediums are used to pull that off.

2. Media ministry will be personalized. Ministry will have to be designed around the needs and wants of the audience rather than around the marketing channels being used.

3. Media ministry will be responsive. Since people will be online more often, Christian Media will have to always be monitoring these channels and responding to the questions, interests, and concerns of the audience. Delays or snags in communicating with those interested in knowing God, getting prayer, or having their spiritual questions answered can mean they just might move on to other sources.

4. Media ministry will be online and offline. More devices are going to have both online and offline capabilities. Christian media will need to rethink what connecting with the audience looks like. For example, publishers could digitize Bibles and books, so that those giving those resources as gifts could add a personal video message.

Shift in strategies

In 2013, leading media ministries will anticipate the ongoing mobile and marketing disruptions and plan for a shift in mobile strategies and digital media outreach.

Implementing new digital services that will effectively reach people with the gospel in the future will require Christian Media to develop the multiyear visions required to drive real change in the religious broadcasting industry.