The Gender Gap in Religious Media
Years ago, direct mail expert Mary Hutchinson wrote me: “You know, I am wondering how much of the Christian TV divide is about gender as much as it is about age. Women respond with their emotions and buy or give. Men generally don’t. So to be successful in a Direct Response kind of way, you have to appeal to the women. And the end result is not appealing to men. Might that be part of the underlying issue?”
It’s a great question, and we do sometimes get stuck on the “65 and older” thing when we talk about Christian media audiences and we miss the role that women play. There’s no question in my experience that women are the largest users of Christian media – especially TV – and they certainly seem to respond to product offers more.
It’s always been a fascination of mine that in that world, most Christian TV leaders are men. It’s remarkable that it took so long to see Joyce Meyer, Anne Graham Lotz, and Beth Moore come on the scene. (And boy have they done well). There are other women who are coming along, and I certainly encourage hearing their voices.
Few churches and ministries have been successful at reaching men. Most simply assume they’re reaching male audiences, but don’t have any real data to prove it. So what does this mean for producers and programmers? Should Christian media be one huge Lifetime Network? Should we start doing more Christian sports, outdoors, or other male-oriented programs? Should we stop producing campaigns based on emotion? What do you think?
Yes, of course ….you should produce all those programs to attract men.
Next question: who is going to pay for it?
We've yet to capture the hearts and minds of men with shows that create significant interest…however several of our clients have indicated a larger male response on certain topics/shows dealing with Finances and the Kingdom.
Direct Repsonse donations and products sales have skewed female, as women do respond more to emotional appeals which are prominent in many programs. A lot of men are too busy "doing" the business, but also should consider the fact that they are spiritual in connecting work with their faith.
At the end of the day, women account for a large percentage of consumer dollars spent in the US, which would logically translate to charitable giving as well.
However, this question really highlights how badly ministries need to fine tune their asks and track responses…also produce programs targeted to men and be more strategic in what dayparts certain programs air…
Yes. If you want to bring in a movement or change, you have to focus on the men. It is time that Christian media focussed on getting out programmes that boost and attract the real men to be themselves.