Posts tagged #media

If Christians and the Church Want to Bring Millennials and Gen Z Back to the Church, They Need To Start Producing More Media Content to Reach Them

Recent research has shown a growing decline in church attendance and religious affiliation among millennials and Generation Z in the United States.  For many church leaders, this decline is troubling, and some are not sure how or what to do to bring young adults back to sitting in the pews.

If churches want to bring young Americans back to houses of worship, religious leaders will need to take the message outside of the four walls of a traditional church and go where millennials and Generation Z live: online and on social media.

Prior generational leaders like Pat Robertson and the late Billy Graham understood the power and influence of the media which is why Robertson founded “The Christian Broadcast Network,” and Rev. Graham aired his sermons on radio and television.

However, unlike past generations, young Americans are exposed to media messages constantly that offer them various worldviews and opinions on morality. They no longer need to attend a physical church to hear about spirituality anymore either. They can simply download a podcast or watch a debate about current topics on YouTube. 

For this age group, it is much more convenient and natural to watch a video online than attend a church. This is why the church needs to do more to reach this age group online and through other media. However, if you want your content to be taken seriously by Generation Z, you better bring your A-game.

There is an endless digital sea of videos you can stream on YouTube or watch on Netflix. If you want your videos to stand out, you need to make it not only informative and thought-provoking but entertaining as well. When you have a generation that has grown up to waking up in the morning to their iPhones and spending all day with their device until they fall asleep with the phone at night in their bed, you must produce quality content that stands out from all the noise. They are smart and can spot poor quality and badly produced cheap content.

This is not to say there isn’t quality Christian content in the media now including Christian music, some films and YouTube videos from popular creators like John Crist; we just need more Christian content that is available for young adults on YouTube, Netflix, and social media. 

Churches should consider creating a media fund to help financially support those within their membership and in their local communities that have the skills and talent to produce quality, informative and entertaining media content. Or, partner with those that have the resources to produce this content.

Millennials and Generation Z are not going to stop using the web and social media. The more exposed to Christian messages they are in their news feeds the better. If you reach them where they are and how they consume content, some of them might just find their closest Uber one Sunday morning to attend a worship service. The backdrop of an old church building or a contemporary one with lights and fog would make a great selfie for Instagram.

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Chad Whittle holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his weekly column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Will The XFL 2.0 Be The First Sports League Built For The 21st Century?

WWE CEO Vince McMahon announced in January his plans to bring back the XFL that lasted only one season in 2001. The XFL held a press conference last Wednesday to reveal the eight cities that will host XFL teams when the league kicks off in 2020.

While the original XFL flopped due to lousy football on the field and a circus-like atmosphere off the field, the league was innovated on the media and technology front. 

Some of the TV coverage innovations the XFL pioneered the NFL adopted including the “sky cam” and mic’ed players during the game.

With all the technology that is available now that no one could even imagine in 2001 during the XFL’s first and only season, the new league has probably the best opportunity of any sports league currently in operation to create a league that is built for the 21st century.

Unlike the NFL, the XFL does not have to worry about potentially offending TV partners that pay billions of dollars for TV rights by signing contracts with online streaming services in addition to TV. Airing Thursday night games on Amazon in addition to Fox probably does not make Fox extremely happy that they have to share their coverage with Amazon.

The XFL has no TV or online partners yet. The league can structure their media rights any way they want to. Look for innovation when it comes to media rights deals with the XFL. The field is wide-open for them to sign contracts with any traditional or digital media outlet. Since the league is new, traditional TV partners will be more understanding if they sign online rights in addition to a broadcast or cable TV deal.

Or, the league could go digital only and bypass traditional TV all together. McMahon stated in his XFL revival announcement that TV ratings would not be the only factor that determines if the XFL is a success because the media world has changed and TV ratings are not as important now as in 2001.

He already owns the digital/OTT WWE Network, which would be the logical choice to stream XFL games online. However, if he goes with his own streaming service, he should open the games up to all for free because there’s not going to be enough fans willing to pay to watch the new league. Amazon and YouTube are always great options as well. YouTube especially if he wants to reach the millennial crowd.

Another digital option is to stream all the games for free on the XFL app the league is creating. In addition to streaming games on the XFL app, the league could provide fan experiences and access to players that no other league can on the mobile app. Unlike the NFL, the league won’t have a players union and they’ll be no multi-million dollar contracts that restrict what players can and cannot do, so they can really be innovated in this area as well.

During live broadcasts of games, the XFL can experiment with technology that will make the fan experience even better by connecting what is happening on the field with the conversations occurring online on their app and social media. During XFL 1.0 there was no such thing as social media. Now that Facebook and Twitter exist, these social networks can be integrated into the game experience in real-time to make fans feel closer to the action.

The original XFL was a failure, but this time around McMahon seems to be doing everything right and taking his time to make sure he has the league more planned out than he did with the original version.

If XFL 2.0 is anything like the first from a media and technology standpoint, look for real innovation that will help create a unique fan experience that might just be adopted by rivals including the NFL.

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