Keeping costs low, increasing revenue, and balancing budgets seem like three obvious tactics for any business owner, but they can sometimes be harder to manage than expected. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the world’s largest faith-based television network, has always functioned as a scrappy business. Founded in the late 1970s, TBN reaches more than 100 million U.S. households, and offers 24/7 programming on the web, as well as all devices and platforms. Nate Daniels, Marketing Director at TBN, attributes its longtime success to the company’s focus on managing its finances sensibly. “We simply don’t do things that put us into debt,” he said.
Finding an affordable streaming service
When Daniels joined TBN in 2017, he was tasked with reducing spending, while still growing their massive audience, and sustaining the health of the business. Not an entirely impossible task, but certainly a challenging one! From the get-go, his mind was set on migrating their video on demand (VOD) platform to an equally reliable and affordable streaming service, one that could push the network into the 21st century. “I recognized that TBN wasn’t a tech company,” he said. “We had no manpower to help facilitate the development of our own platform in-house.”
In order to be a viable solution for Nate and his team, the platform needed to:
- Accommodate TBN’s massive content library (32 terabytes and counting)
- Have zero downtime during the migration
- Offer insights into viewer behavior
- Let his team focus on distributing TBN’s content
“We needed something that was turnkey, but has the flexibility to get us good data,” he said. Even with its massive viewing audience, TBN has historically had little insight into the who, what, when, and where of their viewers’ behaviors. For Daniels, this was a huge gap in knowledge to grow TBN’s audience effectively.
“For me, as much as video on demand is about efficiencies, cost savings, and improved user quality, it’s also about the data we get from our viewers,” Daniel said.
Building great OTT streaming services and apps
After researching providers in the OTT and live streaming space, Daniels found Vimeo OTT. It offered everything he needed — customer insights, improved mobile and TV apps, and migration support, to name a few — at a fraction of the cost of other providers.
Vimeo OTT provides plenty of data insights into both broader website traffic and individuals. Since launching on Vimeo this past summer, Daniels has seen remarkable growth with their customer insights: 100,000 sign-ups in the first 3 months; 95% of who are brand new to TBN’s CRM database.
Part of this success is due to TBN’s recent updates to their mobile and TV apps. Daniels took advantage of Vimeo’s branded apps to improve their struggling app store ratings. Because Vimeo takes care of the tech — from development to app store submission — Daniels didn’t have to worry about juggling additional expenses with a third party. As a result, their app rating jumped from a 3.5 to a 4.8 in just a few months, with more positive ratings coming in.
“What’s great about working with Vimeo is I now have a cross-platform solution that works on mobile, TV apps, and the web,” he said. “Because Vimeo completes all of the work with the apps, we don’t have the additional cost of maintaining them.”
Migrating 32TB of content without downtime
Before any of this was made possible, Daniels had to ensure that Vimeo would successfully migrate TBN’s content smoothly, with no downtime for their loyal fanbase — and on a tight timeline of less than three months, no less. “It took a lot of time and thought, but it was quick to execute,” Daniels said. “We were able to do an end-to-end launch from migrating data, to getting apps in the app store, in 90 days.”
When it comes to working with Vimeo for their broadcasting needs, Daniels sees it as an affordable streaming service that’s ideal for scrappy teams. “For traditional or smaller broadcasters, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “You can spend so much time and money developing something that’s 95% the same, or you can save time and money with Vimeo OTT.”
Learn more about the real cost behind building your own video streaming app, along with best practices for building an in-app subscriber base, in our free guidebook.