Engaging Culture

The Media Revolution Is Happening

Stay tuned to this blog, because some major changes are going to happen. I’m taking the focus to a new level and it will be built about the revolution that’s happening in the media. Television was once called a vast wasteland, and it’s hard to argue with that description. Even today, with multiple cable and satellite channels, innovative programming, and other positive signs, there are still a lot of deserts out there in the media landscape.

But recently, the mass media has changed in a way no one expected. In fact, I predict this era in history will be remembered as the year mass media died. The truth is, it was murdered. The suspects include digital music and video players, broadband internet connections, blogging, and online entertainment.

Today – media is about personalization. The “mass audience” isn’t interested in the same thing anymore. We want our media customized.

For those of you who slept through the revolution, today eBay has 168 million users worldwide, MySpace.com has 60 million users, there are 50 million blogs, and 15 million people use CraigsList to search for classifieds. What’s the connection? Each of these web related media can be customized for the individual user. On my iPod, I have classic rock and roll music, bluegrass, praise and worship, Frank Sinatra, southern gospel, and even opera. I’m not interested in what radio stations think I need – now I can customize my own playlist.

So what does this mean for Christians interested in sharing their faith through the media?

It means it’s time to wake up to the change. Christian leaders and broadcasters always thought we had the answers to what our audience wanted, and more importantly, they would listen. But today, the audience is in charge. In a 500 cable channel universe, the audience has more choices than ever before, and for us to justify their attention, we need to get on their wavelength. After all, it doesn’t matter if you have a great message, if no one is listening.

But if you want to get their attention – here’s some ideas that will help:

  1. Be Yourself. Stop trying to be the current media star. God has called you to a unique calling and purpose. The culture isn’t looking for a copy of a famous leader – they’re looking for you.
  2. Be honest. Let’s face it. Not every book and teaching tape you produce is going to shake the nations. We make a lot of promises when it comes to our products, but the cry of this generation is authenticity. Be proud of what you do, and pitch your stuff – but stop going over the top. Be real, and your audience will respond.
  3. Understand the power of ideas. Most churches and ministries pay enormous money for media airtime, equipment, or facilities. But very few spend enough time on strategy. Ideas are bigger than programs. Ideas are bigger than sermons. Ideas can change the world, so value their power.
  4. Find Your Audience. Sometimes, success isn’t about being all things to all people. It’s about being everything to some people. Jesus didn’t win the world, and you can’t either, so find the audience you can reach. What do your gifts, talents, and passion say about the particular audience that will respond to your message?
  5. Understand the impact of an effective personal brand. A brand is your promise. A trusted brand influences culture, is innovative, has a distinct point of view, and delivers an experience. To discover your brand, we ask 3 important questions: Who are you? In other words, what makes you, you? Second, what are your gifts and talents? In other words, what drives you? Third, what makes you unique? In other words, what separates you from the pack?

The 21st century is changing everything about how to get your message to an audience. Yesterday it was about dumping the same message on the mass audience because they didn’t have much choice. But today, it’s about making a “connection” – the kind of connection that not only makes them want to hear what you have to say, but creates a response.

Stay tuned. Changes are happening. Stop giving your audience what you think they want. Give them what they never dreamed possible.

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5 Comments

  1. That's right on Phil! It's about connecting to those people that you can connect to and finding your audience! We are implementing a ton of the stuff you preach about..

  2. Just to drop another related statistical bomb…

    On 8/10/06 the top 100 YouTube videos had been seen over 385 Million times. 8 months later on 4/10/07, the top 100 YouTube Videos had be seen over 740 Million times.

    The top video has over 45 million views and the 100th most popular video had been seen 3.5 million times.

    I wonder if there are 100 television programs with over 3.5 million viewers in the last year?

  3. I know, youtube is killing it. I don't know about stats, but you see college kids watching youtube on their laptops in lecture halls..it's huge, I'm personally on youtube more than TV or movies.

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