This week, the WWE on USA Network, Gold Rush on Discovery Channel and Answers in Genesis each managed to pull in over three million viewers.
One of these things is not like the other. In fact, one of these things pulled in more than the rest.
Answers in Genesis, with their debate of Ken Ham and Bill Nye pulled in upwards of three million live viewers in addition to the nearly one million views on their YouTube channel since the airing.
I want this to sink in. Answers in Genesis, a non-profit organization managed to bring in more viewers on the internet, using YouTube and some standard uncreative camera angles, than the top basic cable sports and reality programming.
Pause and think about that.
While you do, I will list some sponsors of the two ratings losers for the week.
Mattel, Nestle, Kraft Foods, and Frito Lay all sponsor with millions of dollars the WWE.
Volvo, MSI, Red Bull and major car companies sponsor Gold Rush.
The truth is there is a lot of money on the table available to anyone who can bring in upwards of three million viewers.
But, none of that money will be going to Answers in Genesis because they are non-profit.
Sure, Answers in Genesis will make money on DVD sales of the debate, curriculum and whatever else bears the Debate Live brand. They will gain a ton of new donors and I suspect Bill Nye is set to gain a nice piece of that as well but ultimately Answers in Genesis is done.
Next week, the WWE and Gold Rush will return. Same sponsors, same money. New show.
There will be no Answers in Genesis programming next week, or the week after.
They have to go find sponsors, I mean donors, again.
Commercial sponsorship is all about one thing. Where are the viewers. Sponsors go where it benefits them the most. There is a common lie, that Christian programming cannot gain commercial sponsors. That belief completely undermines capitalism. To believe that means that capitalism, an institution designed by God, for his people and the furtherance of his Kingdom is useless towards advancing his Kingdom.
The idea that Christian’s cannot compete in a purely capitalisic sense is based off of the pure lies, and threats of a loud minority.
The truth is that Christian programming has never been good enough, has never had the outlet and has never received the ratings to gain millions of viewers worthy of millions of dollars from Coca Cola.
I want to propose that commercial sponsorship depends more upon ratings and good programming than the worldview promoted by the program.
If only there was a way, to prove this point. Oh wait there is.
Duck Dynasty. The highest rated reality television series of all time has gained some of the top commercial sponsors anyone could ask for. Not only do they continue to sponsor the show, they refuse to stop.
During all the pleas from the loud minorities to stop sponsoring the programming, Under Armour, the biggest sponsor of the show, actually stood beside them.
“We have no plans to change our current relationship….We are obviously aware of the situation. And his comments are not indicative of Under Armour’s views.”
Under Armour has thrown their worldview under the bus, to continue to fund a reported homophobic Christian family. Why on earth would they do such a thing?
Because…that’s how capitalism works people. It goes where the money is.
Good programming and good ratings drive commercial revenue. Period.
In fact the WWE has to maintain their PG rating for the sake of the sponsors.
So next week when you’re scanning your DVR, looking for some good quality Christian programming and you just can’t seem to find it. Or when you’re channel surfing and shake your head violently as you scan TBN…
Think about why there is no more Live Debates this week. Think about all the money you give to non-profit Christian ministries and ask yourself if that should be invested into a good Christ centered television pilot, or movie instead.
and then reject the lies you’ve been told.
Christianity can win the media world again. We don’t even need network executives to play our programming. We’ve been given a new printing press.
Now, all we need is a good script and a Biblical understanding of capitalism…