Christian Media

TBN’s Surprising Statistics

Paul Crouch Jr. shared some interesting audience survey results from Trinity Broadcasting with me that might start to change assumptions about who the audience for religious television might be.  Because of confidentiality, I can’t reveal the entire survey, but there are some fascinating elements that Paul gave me permission to write about.  For instance, here are the things that stood out:

Male Viewers – 49.2%
Female Viewers – 50.8%

Viewers  Age 42 or Below – 35.6%
Viewers Age 43-61 – 36.3%
Total Below Age 61 – 71.9%

No Active Faith – 55.9%
Un-Churched – 18.9%

Many of the other statistics are what most would expect, including lower educational levels (although that would correspond to most TV networks with the probable exception of PBS).

What does it mean?  Although statistics can be interpreted in a variety of ways, in my opinion, the classic assumption that the Christian media audience is mostly comprised of women aged 55 and older should be called into question.

The big question would be how this information corresponds with other religious networks like Daystar, TCT, Harvest, God TV, INSP, Word, and others.  I’ve always wished more religious stations and networks did audience research – otherwise, we’re just guessing who the audience might be.  Perhaps more than anything, this information proves that the changes TBN is making regarding content is starting to shift the audience in a positive direction.

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  1. Other than Billy Graham Classics, We choose not to watch "Christian TV".  we are upper income, over 50, active in church and ministries.  Perhaps I've thrown the "baby out with the bathwater", but the actions of a few have jaded me on the rest.   It is said that you become what you take in, or garbage in, garbage out. 

  2. It's irrelevant. TBN has nothing to do with Christ, and everything to do with GREED. I have watched pastor after pastor preach against this, then get sucked into this machine. It is time people wake up, would the Crouch family be doing this if it wasn't giving them such an extravagant lifestlye, or an ego stroke. Give me a break, makes me embarrassed to call myself a Christian.

  3. Hello Brother Phil,

         If you know Paul Crouch and work closely with him, is there any way you could reason with him about TBN's content?  My ministry, particularly through my website and podcasts is focused on helping the Charismatic and Word of Faith branch–to which I belong–to realize how utterly different our current day message is from that of Wigglesworth, Frodsham, Carter, Bosworth and other early Pentecostals whom we revere.  We don't have the world-shaking results they did, because we do not preach the Gospel they preached, although we like to see ourselves as the inheritors of their mantles.  We can listen to their recordings on my site, and hear in their own words that these giants of the Faith preached a message that bears no resemblence to what we preach today.  Among other things, we have completely lost the message of the Cross.  The Cross is viewed today in our circles as a mere speed bump on the road to the Upper Room.  Healing is everything.  Money is everthing.  Celebrity Christianity is everything. 

         I've read Paul Sr.'s biography, "I Had No Father But God," and I read in there of his early life and early years in ministry in which he came from a godly family, and had an older female relative who by the revelation of the Holy Spirit could read people like a book.  I know he has interviewed mighty Pentecostal and Charismatic leaders of years gone by–so he has had a great deal of exposure to the "real thing."  Why, oh why then has he allowed the TBN program to degenerate down into this unending telethon, praise-a-thon, scream a thon, promise them anything they want, but get their money-a-thon?  Why does every single message coming over TBN now end with, "all your problems will be solved if you send me a big check?"  Why are spiritual gifts–those few that are real–exercised in such a disorderly way on TBN?  Why does TBN feature so called "Prophet" after "Prophet" whose numerous "prophecies" have not only obviously not come to pass, but have spectacularly not come to pass?  While I understand, and have a heart for ministers who fall, and who SINCERELY repent and submit to a legitimate restoration process, I am sickened to the pit of my soul at how TBN featured numerous ministers openly living in flagrant sin.  One particularly grievous example is that of a minister TBN has prominently featured for decades who had been sued multiple times for sexual harrassment, lied repeatedly under oath, featuring this minister right up to the day that a jealous husband beat the preacher up, and the preacher's brother, and the preacher finally admitted that he was the true biological father of his own nephew.  If 50 years of incest is not enough to get you banned from TBN, then please tell me what is? 

         Has Brother Paul no concept whatsoever of the tremendous damage that is being done to the Spirit-filled message, by this unending circus?  I am absolutely embarrassed by this spectacle.  Did the survey you reviewed ask how many Christians are absolutely ashamed of the content of the TBN programs of the last several years?  Bless their hearts, I appreciate the pioneering work that Paul and Jan have done for Christian TV.  I was saved through Christian TV.  But when will enough ever be enough?

    Kind Regards,

    Brother Mel   

  4. We have also done surveys for our clients.  We find a find a huge difference in the stats depending on the program and ministry. 

    My clients in their 30s attract mostly  25-45 year olds.  My clients in their 60s attrack the 50+ crowd.

    However, in both, the 55+ female is who writes the checks for support.

  5. I don't think current rating monitors can keep up with new technology. Our program rating skews heavily over 50. But every person under 25 I talk to doesn't watch live, they DVR it.


  6. I've been really fascinated with the changes at TBN.  I don't think they will be able to fully and effectively leverage these new eyeballs without rebranding.  All of their on-air stuff… it's tired.  The family crest logo… lots of bagage there from old days.

  7. This is not ment to be derogatory to any one, but rather a compliment. Jan Crouch and the late Tammy Fay have had an overwelming number of fans in the gay community. That amazes me. Who would've thought… While we can gag over TBN's choice of graphics (The key flying thru the air out of heaven), here they are, breaking the mold. Doing what many 'hip' churches haven't been able to do. So! If TBN lost the bad graphics and shows that just make you go "Huh?", what would the outcome be, then?? I think they should try and find out.

  8. My family and I use to watch TBN fairly regularly in the 80s.  But today, hardly a peek.  It is now a combination of the old timer shows with a new genre of hip "shows" that have left many like us not interested.  If I may, it seems to have transitioned from respectable old time pentecostal teaching to a gospel hip hop theme.  I do wonder  what the demographics for race are as well as how long a typical person watches TBN on a weekly basis. 

    Overall, if these stats are true, they are interesting. 

  9. I hate statistics – you can pretty well make them say what you want, so unless they are qualified by some detail on how the stats are gathered they are useless. Some of the questions I would want to know would be:
    1. Who was asked
    2. How many people were asked
    3. What was the methodology of the research etc.
    To give you an example – the stat of 35% of the viewers ebing under 42 is great – BUT if it was an online or e-mail survey you’d expect that – as these are the people most likely to respond. I don’t know many people over 65 who even have a computer – let alone internet access.
    I’d like to know more on how these stats were collected – I presume from your post the research was carried out by TBN themselves rather than by an external survey organisation.

  10. I have several reasons for not watching TBN that much anymore. 
    I think that there is so much lost potential, in terms of the original programming they could be doing.  There are many talented Christian television writers and actors who could create relevant Christian dramas.  (Anybody old enough to remember the old "This Is the Life" 30-minute dramas that used to air on regular t.v. back in the 1960's)? 
    Additionally, what about making original made-for-television movies based on Christian history, the lives of ministers like Billy Graham and Smith Wigglesworth or stories of faith in general that the unsaved and saved both can relate to? While they do put on a few movies late at night, most of them are either poorly made or 20-years-old or more.
    I also wonder about the need to have on every celebrity who claims to be a Christian. During their TBN interviews, these famous individuals talk about how the Lord has impacted their lives, yet when you see these same celebrities on secular television or in movie roles, they never even bring up their faith, use profanity and are the opposite of what they profess to be on TBN.  I watched a reality show with a couple TBN has had on more than once and, except for the wife wearing a Christian tee-shirt on one occasion, I saw no difference between their lifestyle and that of any non-believing household's.  That's a little disconcerting to me.
    Regarding Nathan 3's comments about finding out the demographics of the race of those who watch TBN now, however, I do have to ask why this is important. The fact that more people of color may be on the network now has nothing to do with the caliber of the programming.
    It isn't the "gospel hip hop theme" of some of the shows that's the problem,, but lack of creativity, hours of boring praise-a-thons and some ministries that are aired that appear to have questionable anointing.
    I only pray the best for TBN, that they regain their footing and  have a greater impact on a lost world.  Despite my issues with their programming, I believe it's important to keep this network and the Crouches lifted up before heaven.  It's easy to criticize them, but they have helped bring a lot of people to Christ and, with a renewed focus, still can.
  11. we always wondered what jan's infatuation with carman has been. he is the elvis-ish sex symbol (ew) of the network. she even has him in that famous elvis dipping with one leg stretched out pose that elvis made famous by ripping out his pants backside one performance.

    also carman seems to be very worldly albeit enthusiatic, about preaching the Gospel in some creative means. but his ambition towards all things hollywood is kind of creepy and in his movie the champion his acting wasn't terrific and he smooched zealously a married actress who also has soft porn details showing photos around on the internet. not to mention she played a lesbian and has been known to be less than honest about herself and acts like an innocent clean woman in some pieces but is extremely worldly and not serving Christ. spin is a sin! :>) because it deceives.

    they also used kim clement their apparent favorite home town prophet to try to manuever people in to buy tickets to the movie. repeatedly! it didn't really pan out as the movie barely broke even.

    also the actress the laurie and matt crouch said was shown to them by God, that she was the "one" for the Esther movie is now starring in Greek which offers a script whose sole/soul purpose is to get virgins busy, people to have sex to fix broken relationships and Christians are to look like fat geeks who have weird lives.

    this week so far "Esther" was the 'medium' to make a couple have sex practically at emotional gunpoint and she used foul, derogatory language decisively. she coerced her college 'sister' to go have sex with her cheating boyfriend and of course we got to watch him having simulated sex through her eyes on a secret video of his activities.

     there's more but it's not edifying. tbn is 'off ' often in the prophetic aspects of film. however the Omega Code films were pretty cool. although there was more of that married people kissing and body pressing, which they say is OKAY if it is for acting.

    NOT TRUE. The Bible says the opposite. Who should we go with: the excuses and manipulation or the heart and mind of God?

     how many affairs can we name  and marriages that died because of film set escapades and roles? kissing…wires your brain to the person chemically and electrically. you can find that on the Discovery channel specials.

    is kissing a married person for a role, adultery? yes it is. especially if there is a secret attraction and stimulation. especially if the person "thinks" about the married person in a way that is anything more than nuetral or professional. remember what Jesus said about just looking at a woman and lusting (desiring her) in the heart? or Thou Shalt NOT Cover Thy Neighbors Wife/Husband?

     tbn needs to clean up their old logo and come clean about jan's spending problem and some other things ranging from drinking to control and anger issues. also to give us a different face for promo than a goofy version of elvis in carman's clothing. when is it okay to sexualize a minister and emulate very very compromised immoral addicted sexually inappropriate people even if they are entertaining and icons?

    aren't we called to emulate Christ and those teachers who follow Him that facilitate us?

    I Peter 5:7

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