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Digital Media

We Want Internet

Mary Meeker, called the InInternetternet’s leading prophet, gave her 20th annual Internet trends report the headline… ‘Internet has only begun to change our lives.”

Leaving no one behind, the Internet is going to become even more embedded in everyday life.

Springing from Mary’s observations, we highlight four observations and  implications for Christian communicators.

The smartphone disruption is in full swing

Today nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for staying connected to the world – because they have few options for online access.

Implication: If your ministry has a mobile strategy, you’re ahead of the game. But, a mobile strategy has to be more than putting a website or media stream into an app. That’s not enough. For example, almost all successful mobile driven businesses right now are building “web apps” designed for larger screens. Strategy begins with knowing what your audience is trying to accomplish when they search for and consume faith-based audio and video online. When you figure that out, you will likely discover that you should offer more than one (screen) for experiencing your ministry’s message.

Internet is poised to take over TV

Research firm eMarketer estimates that people are spending more time per day with digital media than with television media, and the gap is expected to widen. Moffett Nathanson released a research note with data showing the pay-TV industry has lost more subscribers in Q1 2015 than it ever has in the first three months of a year in the industry’s entire history.

Implication: If your audience is turning to the Internet, in ever increasing numbers, for more interesting and unique video content, it stands to reason that compelling Christian video content should be part of the mix. Create it. Publish it. Aggregate it. Or do all three.

User created video still untapped potential

According to a recent Tubular Labs report, user-generated content (UGC), makes up 32% of the top videos on YouTube, 17% on Vine and more than 50% on Facebook.

Implication: As we said in this post, the first priority is to get an online video and audio platform in place. That will make it pretty simple for your audience to send you their videos and podcasts. When done right, UGC will translate into a significant channel for your donors, sponsors, and advertisers who recognize it as a real opportunity.

News landscape continues to change

People are going to the Internet for breaking news, instead of radio or television. Twitter, in particular, has become a hub for discovering what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world.

Implication: While tech-savvy consumers still use traditional platforms, the number of devices and technologies used to get news has increased. Traditional Christian media entities should be taking steps to develop synergy between online and offline media, to attract the next generation of consumers. Failure to do so could lead to losing ground in providing information and news from a Christian perspective.

Big picture

Overall, 84% of Americans adults use the internet. For some groups, especially young adults, those with high levels of education, and those in more affluent households, internet penetration is at full saturation levels.

As Meeker’s trend lines show, the Internet is wanted by everyone, for everything, all the time. It’s becoming like electricity. The implications of that over the next 20 years is something not even Meeker can predict.

But what we do know is that after twenty-years on the digital highway, the Internet still represents the greatest opportunity for communicating the gospel ever created.