In 2012 Hope Channel began an all-out campaign to increase its reach in North America. An important part of the plan was to increase the distribution within the American cable industry.
Though we knew from the start that this type of outreach would be difficult, time consuming, and one that required much prayer, we understood that if Hope Channel were to reach the millions yet to hear about Jesus’ saving grace, we had to go where the televisions are. And in the United States almost 85% of TV households are cable connected.
During the four years since the start of this initiative, Hope Channel has learned much about presenting itself to the secular TV industry. We have also realized just how correct we were in thinking this was to be a difficult, time-consuming process that needed prayers. Along the way, there have also many surprises.
Credibility in the Secular TV World
Generally speaking, secular TV executives do not like Christian television. The reason has little to do with Jesus, but more to do with the bad reputation many Christian channels have had for using their shows for personal financial gain. When scandal breaks about popular TV preachers enriching themselves with donations, it tarnishes the perception of other TV ministries. Although Hope Channel does not preach or practice “prosperity gospel” methods, we’re initially looked upon with suspicion.
However, once we explain that Hope Channel is about nothing else but Jesus and the transformed life He offers, skepticism turns into appreciation and support. We have discovered that it’s not Jesus with whom secular TV executives have concerns—it’s with some of the things many of us Christians do. When they understand that Hope Channel focuses on Jesus and not on a TV personality, and that the shows are about offering viewers options for a better life, they quickly see the benefit of having Hope Channel as a unique Christian television category. By genuinely caring for the well-being of people, Hope Channel is strengthening its credibility in the very secular world of television and changing the TV industry from skeptics to supporters.
Health Message Opens Doors
Regardless of one’s spirituality, nearly everyone is interested in health. Hope Channel’s health message opens closed doors, paving into the secular world a path of biblical truths. This makes Hope Channel somewhat unique among TV channels. Who else can genuinely say that their programs can create a longer, better life?
God is opening doors for Hope Channel and giving us favor in a strongly non-Christian TV industry. Only God knows the exciting future ahead of us, as we continue presenting the gospel to those that do not know.
by Joe Sloan, Director of Cable Distribution
During a one-on-one presentation about Hope Channel, a leading industry executive became abruptly silent when I began explaining Hope Channel’s whole-body health focus. It was a lengthy pause that had me perplexed. “Had I said something offensive,” I wondered.
After what seemed like an eternity, the executive ended the awkward silence by choking up and saying, “You don’t understand, I was diagnosed with cancer recently and no one has given me any hope. But what I am hearing from you today touches me and gives me encouragement that I can hope for a better future.”
I followed up by sharing copies of Hope Channel shows on biblical health principles and cancer treatment.