Beyond Today Initial Test Results
The Church has now successfully aired two of the new 30-minute format Beyond Today television programs in five U.S. Designated Market Areas (DMA).
From a test perspective, it has thus far been a solid experience in an intensely cluttered media landscape. Since we are in the planning stages for a potentially much broader distribution in the top DMA U.S. television markets, these test programs provide us with critical information for the refining and honing of how to effectively reach viewers. These new commercials stations, located in DMA second- and third-tier cities in Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio, are fitting in with our existing strategy of cable distribution and Internet availability of the program.
For the week of April 18-24 we had 137 direct responses to our toll-free phone number, which includes all responses from free cable outlets and the new test commercial stations (all airing in a wide variety of time slots or dayparts). This is a 10% increase in direct response over the previous week, and virtually identical to two weeks ago. Twenty-four direct telephone responses came from the U.S. commercial test.
Those of you who had an opportunity to see the new programs know that we follow the effective contemporary strategy of encouraging viewers to log on to the Beyond Today Web site and immediately read (or request) additional information. That approach is consistent with proven winning strategy for this kind of programming, and rewards viewers instantly. That online option was obviously not available in prior generations of preaching the Gospel on air. The response numbers from this integrated approach will be available in early May, which will provide additional important information and feedback.
While the level of direct response for our commercial television test may appear initially modest, both the numbers and the experience are highly useful. To maximize the ultimate impact of this new television opportunity, we deliberately bought media time in second-tier DMA markets where we could effectively test content and programming without incurring the high costs that are common in premium time slots in first-tier DMA stations like New York. It is also a true axiom that you only get one chance to make a first impression, good or bad, so we want our content and presentation strategy to be on target as we move into larger television markets with God’s truth. This current strategy gives us critical space to make improvements as we prepare for an integrated broader outreach.
The process of building television audience loyalty and response includes the fact that viewers typically have to see a program or part of a program a number of times before they will respond to it. Our presenters are new visitors to our viewers’ homes, and repeat experiences will help develop a relationship. That will obviously take time.
We all want big numbers and big impact for this critical message. Given our progress in content, our presenters and production staff are excited. Millions of people prefer to receive information by commercial television, so we will continue to monitor and adjust our overall strategy, which includes our print, radio and online programs. Our goal is and will remain to maximize our reach, impact and success in announcing the truly good news of God’s coming Kingdom.
Please pray for the success of our integrated strategy, for the preparing and refining of our presentations, and that our message will fall on fertile ground.
Thank you for your continued support of all of our media efforts.
Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services