Evangelicals and the Media

specifically christian

How Evangelicals Are Consuming Christian Content Varies, Study Shows

Newly released research shows the vast majority of evangelical Protestants in the U.S. access “specifically Christian” content through various media forms.  However, evangelical use of individual media types is fragmented.

The findings are detailed in Media Matters: Evangelicals and Media by Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research.

Evangelicals were asked to distinguish between content that is specifically Christian—not just “clean” or “family friendly”—and content that is not specifically Christian. Almost every study participant reported consuming both specifically Christian content and that which is not specifically Christian (called “mainstream” in the report). The proportion of content that is specifically Christian differs substantially from one media type to the next. 

Three media types—broadcast radio, podcasts, and books—have evangelicals relying on specifically Christian content for the majority of what they consume.  All the rest (television, streaming video, magazines and websites) have the typical evangelical reporting the majority of the content they consume is not specifically Christian.

The study found consumption of specifically Christian media content tends to be higher among three types of evangelicals:

• Those with greater overall spiritual engagement (more frequent churchgoers, more frequent Bible readers, are part of a small group for Bible study or prayer)

• Those who are charismatic or Pentecostal (reporting having personally spoken in tongues)

• Those in the lowest income group (below $30,000 household income, compared to mid-level and high-income evangelicals who tend to use less Christian media) 

The study also explores which media evangelicals prefer to use for specifically spiritual purposes, such as Bible teaching, study or prayer. The average evangelical Protestant uses 3.4 different media types for spiritual purposes, with the most popular being printed books (43%), television (38%) and websites (36%). Significant proportions also use streaming video (29%), mobile apps (28%), broadcast radio (23%), and podcasts (20%).

Mark Dreistadt, founder and president of Infinity Concepts, notes that media use for spiritual purposes varies quite a bit by age. “As we would expect, younger evangelicals are especially likely to use newer forms of media, such as satellite radio, internet radio, apps, and podcasts. But substantial proportions of younger evangelicals also use more traditional media, such as television and printed books, as part of their faith practices. Younger evangelicals use a wider variety of different media than their older counterparts.” 

The study is free to download. 

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