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Special Feature: The Future Is Bright at TBN!
2010: TBN’s Wonderful Year In Review
by Jo Jordan
Like all of us, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), its founders, and staff have many cherished memories to reflect back upon at the close of this past year. With 2011 underway, TBN has much to be grateful for, and wants to share with its audience the network’s fondest and most exciting moments from 2010…and beyond.
While other networks struggle to hold their audience shares, TBN has forged ahead, embracing new technology at every turn by implementing state-of-the-art viewing systems they know audiences will appreciate. At the same time, TBN has continued to offer exciting new programming, and has received constant kudos for its family-friendly shows that are watched across the television universe via the network’s most up-to-date, “three-screen wireless” technologies.
Here are a handful of TBN highlights from the year just past…
TBN audiences started 2010 off right with a New Year’s Eve celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of JCTV’s Real Videos program. Real Videos, the longest running nationally televised Christian music video show, commemorated the program’s important milestone with a two-hour special on December 31, 2009, hosted by former hosts and founders Laurie and Matt Crouch. Joined by T-Bone, the show’s current host, the trio shared their favorite and funniest memories, and reviewed many great artist interviews – the pioneers of contemporary Christian music – and music videos that have aired on Real Video over the quarter century. JCTV, TBN’s youth network, provides unique programming to thirteen to thirty-year-olds from every culture.
This year JCTV partnered with Focus on the Family, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Chi Alpha to bring The Test to parents, students, and grandparents. The Test is a must-see special hosted by Paul Crouch Jr., TBN’s chief of staff, and Sean McDowell for future and current Christian college students and their families. It helps equip youth with the ability to stand up for their Christian faith while attending a secular college.
On Christmas Eve, 2010, Smile of a Child Children’s TV Network (SMILE) celebrated its fifth year on the air. Launched as a labor of love by TBN co-founder Jan Crouch, SMILE is an exclusive, 24-hour-a-day, 7 days a week, channel just for kids. During its five years on the air, SMILE has received numerous accolades, including the Entertainment Seal of Approval from the Parents Television Council (PTC) for its authentic, family-friendly cable network programming.
SMILE’s popularity is consistently reflected in positive findings from polling professionals such as Beta Research, confirming that among niche networks, TBN’s SMILE perform at or near the top in viewer interest and appeal.
“Beta Research reported that among emerging networks, TBN’s SMILE was number one in viewer interest in households that subscribe to direct-to-home satellite services such as DirecTV and Dish Network,” says Bob Higley, vice president of affiliate sales and marketing at TBN.
The growth and reach of each of TBN’s most popular networks has been phenomenal. In 2010, the Church Channel (TCC) gained the most subscribers, expanding by over twenty-one million new cable and satellite households. Fourteen million new homes were added to TBN’s audience when TCC was launched on the DISH (satellite) Network service in June, this year, and TCC is also now carried on DirecTV. Forty-nine million cable, satellite, and broadcast households currently carry TCC.
Both AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS telephone companies now carry five of TBN’s networks. As a result, substantial growth has been experienced by four of TBN’s networks – including JCTV, SMILE, Enlace USA (Spanish language network), and TCC – which grew by three million new homes in 2010. JCTV is now available to 16.3 million cable, satellite, and broadcast households; SMILE reaches 15.7 million homes; and Enlace is viewed in 11.3 million American homes.
TBN’s Second Chance (TBN-SC) program made real inroads this past year. TBN-SC is the network’s effort to reach a largely forgotten population: the more than two million American men and women behind bars. The initiative, a companion to already-established rehabilitation programs, allows wardens and chaplains of eligible prisons, correctional facilities, and re-entry centers to choose up to four of TBN’s unique faith-based networks for inmates to view completely free of charge.
This year, TBN-SC was implemented from coast to coast at numerous correctional facilities around the nation – including juvenile internment centers – with the potential to impact the lives and hearts of eighty-two thousand and five hundred of the nation’s incarcerated.
TBN also announced its new downloadable iPhone application for cell phones in 2010: a free, downloadable iPhone application for watching TBN channels on Blackberry and Android phones. And now, coming to viewers in the summer of 2011 is one of the most revolutionary services ever offered by TBN. The network is currently hard at work developing iTBN (Interactive TBN), a faith-based, Christian content version of Hulu.
This addition to the network’s web site is part of its ongoing effort to offer viewers a comprehensive “three-screen television environment.” The brand new iTBN web site will offer the network’s complete thirty-eight year history and inventory of programming online. And, once the site is launched, new programs will be added daily as they are produced.
“This is the largest project I’ve tackled in my history with the network,” says Paul Crouch Jr. “Thousands of hours of old video tapes and programs, old praise programs with people who’ve now been promoted to heaven…much of it is as relevant today as it was thirty years ago. The message of the gospel never changes, but the technology and the way it’s presented does.”
The secret to this new viewing option’s brilliance is searchability. When viewing via computer, programs are searched and found using keywords. For example, to search programs with Billy Graham, simply type the words “Billy Graham” into the search box, and all thirty-eight years of programming featuring Graham will be displayed. Viewers will be able to watch what they want, when they want it.
Eventually, iTBN will be available on the living room television, computer or iPad, and even via cell phone. We now live in a three-screen world…a new era in video distribution, and TBN is keeping up with the times better than many other networks.
“There’s the TV, the computer screen, and now there’s mobile phones or smart phones,” says Crouch. “We can make phone calls, view the web, and watch TV whenever and wherever we want to. It’s a three-screen, wireless environment.”
TBN also made great strides in 2010 on the social media front. The network’s fresh and unique Facebook page is interactive and entertaining. TBN’s fan page features full-length movies and the network’s daily Praise the Lord and Behind the Scene programming are aired in their entirety. The page also offers a web portal access directly to its JCTV, SMILE, TCC, Enlace, and TBN web sites, as well as online prayer and broadcast schedules. Special tabs, including the TBN-SC program, and links to TBN programmer’s page are also part of the network’s Facebook offerings.
The future certainly looks bright for everyone at TBN, and its audiences around the globe.
About Trinity Broadcasting Network
Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is the world’s largest religious network and America’s most watched and requested faith channel. Each day TBN offers 24 hours of commercial-free inspirational programming that appeals to viewers from a wide variety of denominations and backgrounds. Beginning in 1973 as a single UHF station in southern California, TBN now reaches every major continent via 78 satellites and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. In the United States, TBN is available to 92 percent of the total households. Its website receives millions of visitors monthly. In addition to TBN, the network owns and operates ten networks, including the Church Channel, JCTV youth network, TBN Enlace USA Spanish language network, Smile of a Child children’s network, the Arabic language Healing Channel, and Nejat TV in Farsi. For more information on TBN, visit www.tbn.org and www.tbnnetworks.com.
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