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As we wrapped up the “Cutting the Cord” session at NRB on Tuesday morning we briefly discussed the future of digital delivery as ministries begin to move to a more online broadcast mentality. Due to time constraints we were not able to dig very deeply into Slide 28 and what we are seeing around 4K and 360 video as it relates to online ministry experiences.

As the general public continues to embrace OTT and 4K Displays we will continue to see the requirement for 4K distribution rise, particularly as costs of both cameras and displays continue to go down. However, when we look at current viewing trends for ministry live streaming we continue to see over 60% of distribution being consumed on mobile and hand held devices.  The mobile consumption trend also applies to Video on Demand content which is primarily watched during the day on weekday’s (while people are at lunch or on breaks during work hours.  Viewing times will continue to vary as ministries attract larger global audiences in various time zones. Ministry will continue to have difficulty justifying the cost of 4K distribution event to large tablets until costs reduce dramatically and there is wider acceptance of HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) to keep bandwidth costs reasonable.

360 Video
As churches and ministry continue to work to offer enhanced experiences to their online congregations, we are beginning to see more testing and demand for 360? cameras and players being tested in sanctuaries and online. The idea of an online viewer being able to look around the sanctuary or room being broadcast to see friends or other parts of the worship experience can be both exciting and distracting.

Ministries will need to decide when to switch to and from the 360? video for the online campus as most pastors want both the in-house and online congregations to focus on the message once they begin to preach. There are several factors that will impact the 360? experience including technology, costs, the online viewers capabilities and understanding of the solution presented as well as the demographics and their expectations within the online experience. With a majority of viewers using mobile devices the hand held experience must also be considered. It is too soon to determine how a 360? experience will be effectively incorporated (and accepted) into an online campus broadcast but one thing is certain, those ministries pushing the online envelope will continue to offer exceptional experiences that will create the desire for online viewers to attend the church to experience the worship and messages in person.

In our next post we will discuss AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) as it relates to an Online Campus experience.