I’m predicting that over the next year – possibly within 6 months – we’ll be seeing some dramatic changes when it comes to the dominant religious TV networks. Lesea Broadcasting, based in South Bend is putting stations up for sale – presumably to help lower their debt, but decreasing their size. TBN has been expanding laterally – such as buying the Holyland Experience in Orlando. At the same time, Daystar has been buying up stations and expanding in a significant way both in the United States and internationally. Marcus Lamb, co-founder of Daystar purchased 10 stations in little more than a week recently. Daystar has also made huge strides in expanding their platform on the five largest cable systems in America.
INSP continues their infomercial blocks, and on a recent Sunday morning, they were airing mostly secular infomercials. Between infomercials and programming featuring telethon staple Mike Murdock, some are wondering about their direction.
Overseas, the battle for viewers continues, with God-TV, Daystar, and TBN the largest Christian networks to note. The unique feature of God-TV is their willingness to open up their schedule for special events, conferences, and specials. While most Christian networks are pretty locked into their schedule, GOD-TV is far more fluid, probably reflecting the international sensibilities of their founders Rory and Wendy Alec.
If their current rate of growth continues, within the next 6 months to a year, perennial #2 network Daystar could overtake powerhouse TBN as the largest global Christian TV network. As I note in my book “The Last TV Evangelist,” media is changing, and it’s good to see that religious programmers are starting to see those changes and react in a positive way.