How Your Church Can Get an Internet TV Channel

How Your Church Can Get an Internet TV Channel

June 2, 2014 by

The TV industry is ripe for disruption and it’s holding on for dear life. The traditional content producers (studios) and the cable companies are holding on to that old business model till the last dollar is squeezed out of it. Unfortunately for them, the market is starting to dictate how things will play out and just as the music industry was made to adapt, the television industry will have the same fate.

Whether it’s Twitter lighting up when Scandal is on or a beloved TV series getting a new life on Netflix, we will become more immersed in social media connected viewing and we’ll watch what we want to watch, when we want to watch and from any device we want to watch—no more cable bundles and set showtimes.

All this disruption in the TV industry is an incredible opportunity for your church.

We have an opportunity like no other to reach people who watch television. An Internet TV channel is within reach of anyone, including your church. But there are a few things you need to consider before launching an Internet TV channel:

1. Content First
Before anything else, the church needs to provide content for the channel.  Every week the church generates quite a bit of content ranging from the pastor’s sermon, praise and worship, the church experience and a variety of behind the scenes videos that could populate an Internet TV channel.

Now don’t limit yourself to just churchy content. While sermons are great and very inspirational, for an opportunity like this the church has to think bigger and create all kinds of content for viewing on this channel.

The opportunities for Internet TV are endless, but the successful churches will likely go beyond merely televising their church service.

One of the great options we utilize at The Potter’s House in Dallas is to take every video we already supply to our YouTube channel and put it on our Internet TV channel.

2. Count the Cost
The second thing your church needs to consider is price. Previously, it could cost upwards of $50,000 per week to run on a traditional television station like TBN or Church Network. That much cash and you didn’t have the tools to fully analyze your viewing audience.

But with the Internet TV platforms we have today, a church can get started for as little as $500 upfront and $150 per month. Additionally, the reporting features are so good that any church can see what shows were watched, how often, how long and other key analytics that can help determine future programming and content decisions.

(Sidenote: I have spoken with numerous Internet TV providers and programmers and their pricing for setup ranged from $500 to $35,000. This is a huge difference so make sure you shop around.)

3. Pick a Platform
Finally, the last decision to consider is which platform to use for your Internet TV channel. Currently, there are two main platforms that churches can utilize:

  • Roku: The first platform (and best one in my opinion) is Roku with an audience of 10 million viewers and a price range of $49 to $99.  This platform is based on the Roku box or the Roku HD streaming stick that you can connect to your HDTV and choose a channel from the numerous ones available in the Roku app store. A quick search for “church” shows how many churches have already rolled out their own channel.
  • Amazon Fire TV: Another platform is the recently released Amazon Fire TV.  This platform is based on the Amazon Fire TV box and has an audience of around 2 million viewers and growing due to the backing of and a price of $99.  Like the Roku device, the Amazon Fire TV has an app store and numerous channels can be downloaded.

And that’s just the beginning. More platforms are rolling out in the future, including Apple TV and Microsoft Xbox.

Real World Example: The Potter’s House
Now let me get more specific on how we implemented our Internet TV channel. Instead of building the channel ourselves, we chose a cloud based software to streamline the process. The provider we choose was Streamotor and I have created multiple channels with this organization and their setup, delivery and service is very good. We have three delivery channel formats:

  1. An on-demand format where we load up videos and categorize them according to topics and let people choose what they want to watch.
  2. We also have a running channel where it just continues to broadcast shows 24/7, so whenever someone comes to our channel they can see continuous shows and just watch.
  3. We have a live channel that shows our live weekly services, conferences, graduations and any other special events we have going on at the church.

Check out our Roku channel to see it in action and also see how we introduce it on our website.

We run our Internet channels like a real television station: we have pre-rolls, lower thirds, post-rolls, on-screen hashtags for social interaction and we use text-to-give as a way for people to support the ministry financially while they are watching.

Go Into All the TVs
Now your church can go into all the world with an Internet TV channel, reaching a new generation without the stigma of a televangelist.

Photo by Pierre B.
Post By:

Jason Caston

Jason Caston is the author of The iChurch Method and an Internet church strategist. In addition to speaking and teaching around the world, he enjoys spending time with his family while using an Apple product to browse Google software.
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2 Responses to “How Your Church Can Get an Internet TV Channel”

  • Philip
    April 21, 2016

    I want to a TV channel for my church. What are the cost implications?

     | Permalink
    • John Stewart
      September 19, 2017

      Hey Phil. My company, FaithNetwork provides internet TV channels to churches. Go to today and send us a contact. We would love to help you!

       | Permalink

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