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The Forerunner

Major Networks Losing Control of Audiences

By Editorial Staff
Published December 1, 1988

The “Big Three” major networks, ABC, NBC and CBS, which have shaped American television for the last two decades, are apparently losing their monopolistic control over the public. Viewers instead are turning to VCR’s, cable, and an “upstart fourth network,” Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), which has enjoyed a steady increase in viewership.

The Big Three have suffered “audience erosion” with 70 percent of the combined share audience watching, compared to 92 percent in 1978. “We are still the Goliath of broadcasting, but we will be slain by all the little Davids, if we don’t pay attention to them,” said Howard Stringer, president of the CBS Broadcast group.

CBN was considered the “upstart fourth network,” by Time Magazine in its recent article, “The Big Boys’ Blues” (October 17, l988). Spokesman Darlene Smyda said, “We’ve definitely had an increase in viewers. As of October 11th, we had 42 million households.” CBN’s “Family Channel” viewership has steadily increased since 1981, and grew by two million since last May. Smyda said the audience is not necessarily a religious audience, but simply those who like family programming.

Despite attempts to develop new sitcom material to appeal to newer and narrow audiences such as yuppies and single mothers, and to scale down production costs, the decline among the three networks shows no signs of leveling off. Over 3,500 employees have been laid off in the last two years at all Big Three networks. They are also expanding their revenue base by investing in production of documentaries and home videos.

Although networks are diversifying their profits, decline of influence seems cast in concrete. Eugene Secunda, professor of marketing at Baruch College in New York City, told Time, “You’re dealing with inevitable decline. It’s like those folks who kidded themselves that the Roman Empire was going to go on forever. It was an illusion.”

Analysts project that the influence of the major networks will be dispersed among eight or 10 networks, thus fragmenting competition. Some observers say bad TV programming isn’t the reason for the drop in viewership; instead it is new technologies such as home satellite dishes and fiber-optic cable. Also, the average viewer today isn’t sampling every TV show, which is much different from the viewer of the late 1970s who watched everything. Today’s viewers have cable TV, home video and other independent stations from which to select from.


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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

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