TBN In the Multiplatform Game

Uses new technology to expand global reach, enhance programming
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Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is just one of several faith-based broadcasters utilizing multiplatform strategies to market their brands.

TBN, a faith and family network, is using new technology to enhance its reach through platforms like TBN 24 Hours a Day which provides TBN content in real time through its Website.

"Years ago we realized that computer and digital technology would revolutionize the way individuals view their favorite programs, movies, news, and other video content," said TBN's Chief of Staff Paul Crouch Jr.

The network's homepage also features an exclusive video portal through which viewers can watch classic TBN family movies as well as encore presentations of its most popular programming.

"There's even a special downloadable TBN Media Player that allows you to watch all five of our most popular networks 24 hours a day right from your computer desktop," noted Crouch.

This spring, TBN introduced a new app accessible on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that provides users with 24-hour access to all of TBN's networks, including its flagship network, the JCTV youth network, the Arabic language Healing Channel and Nejat TV in Farsi.

"We had such an overwhelming response to this revolutionary viewing option that we quickly followed up by adding live viewing capabilities for smart phones like the Blackberry, Android, and Windows Mobile," said Crouch. "That means smart phone users can now view all of TBN's networks 24 hours a day, and can even access archives of our most popular programs."

Beyond expanding access to its networks, TBN is also utilizing interactive technology like Skype to enhance its programming. Crouch's son Brandon Crouch is using the program as a major broadcast platform for his show Off the Record, which airs weekly on JCTV. He explained that Skype adds more spontaneity to his broadcasts, allowing him to air segments from international airports, concerts, sports event and even Times Square in New York, as he did this past New Year's eve.

Skype has also allowed Brandon to feature guests from around the world and conduct on-air video reporting, as he did when reaching out to a friend in Haiti via Skype just hours after last January's earthquake.

As is the case with many other religious networks, Crouch acknowledges that it is necessary for TBN to extend beyond the traditional television platform to reach audiences--especially younger viewers.

"They want to take an active part, to offer their input," he said. "And with technologies like Skype, along with all the social networking tools available to them, they're becoming a more and more important part of the television experience."

And while some faith-based networks have found it necessary to move away from straight-forward religious programming to reach younger audiences, Crouch stresses that TBN's mission as a Christian network must remain a priority as it adapts to new technologies and strategies in a new culture of digital media.

"Our mission today at TBN is the same as it was when my parents started this network with a tiny UHF station nearly 40 years ago," he said. "And that is to change people's lives with the hope of the gospel. At the end of the day, our goal is still to make sure the good news is spread to every corner of the earth. And we are thankful for the level at which we've been able to do that."

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