An Analysis of the Uses and Gratifications of Televangelism in Nigeria (a Case Study of Aba, Residents)



1.1      Background of the study

Evangelists have not looked back since the establishment of the Christian commission, and they have employed many tactics to guarantee that the “Good News” reaches every man on the planet. The mainstream media, particularly radio, television, and, more recently, the Internet, have shown to be effective in carrying out this commission for the evangelists (Kunock, I. 2016). According to  Mokaya, E. (2015) Television has grown into an essential tool for communicating Christian theology and ideas through words and pictures in order to win people and link them to God, which is a vital aspect of Christianity. As a result of this usage, the term “teleevangelism” was coined.

Naggar, S. (2014) asserts that televangelism is a uniquely modern kind of religious activity, intrinsically linked to the current technical means that permit its creation, dissemination, and consumption. He further explained that  televangelism is the use of religious programs on television, such as preaching, singing, and religious discussions, to urge people to become religious and donate money to religious organizations and activities. Because it incorporates a combination of modern music, instruments, and dances, televangelism is a hybrid genre of religion and entertainment in modern media culture .

Accroding to Katz’s (1959), the origins of televangelism may be traced back to the United States in the 1930s, when Congress approved a statute encouraging the issue of broadcast licenses. It was assumed that the holders of these licenses would promote public-interest material in exchange for them.  Hence researchers like Frank and Greenberg, 1980 cited in Kunock, I. ( 2016) opined that the goal of televangelism is to convert non-Christian audiences to Christianity as well as to rekindle the fire of revival in weak Christians and the church as a whole. Since  mandate that “less attention be paid to what media do to people and more attention be paid to what people do with the media,” the 15 perception of media consumers as active or purposeful selectors and recipients in mass communication has gathered a lot of support in the scientific literature. Researchers in the field of uses and gratifications have discovered a range of reasons that indicate the utility, selectivity, and intentionality of audience actions related to television viewing habits .

Notably, prior to the early 1960s, the recipient had been envisioned to be permanently passively located at the end of the mass communication process, both in terms of the impacts the content of mass communication was meant to have on the recipients and their location in the process of mass communication. Researchers in the field of uses and gratifications have retired the archaic bullet theory, which views the audience as a passive recipient of preset stimuli in a stimulus-response connection with the communicator. Kyle, R. (2010) implored that uses and gratifications hypothesis basically asserts that man uses mass media to obtain “instances of satisfaction.” To put it another way, this perspective sees man as using the media to fulfill specific particular interests, desires, and requirements. The audience is regarded as a participant in the communication process. Rubin, M (1984) explained that there are two sorts of television viewing, according to this theory: ritualized and instrumental. More frequent viewing of television for diversionary purposes such as company, time consuming relaxation, and a greater affinity with the medium itself is referred to as ritualised viewing . Instrumental viewing, on the other hand, implies a more purposeful use of 16 television material to satisfy informational demands or reasons. It’s worth noting that both sorts of viewing might be linked to distinct types of program content and the audience it draws. This study aims to find out how televangelism’s audience interacts with the programs and the gratifications they gain from continued viewing. Televangelism is a severely understudied program type and format with a distinct audience.

1.2       Statement of problem

The deregulation of Nigeria’s broadcast media transformed the country’s media landscape and paved the way for the use of the medium for evangelical goals. According to Ihejirika (2006), the employment of mass media for missionary aims has had a negative impact. This is because television provides churches and televangelists with a unique chance to carry out the Great Commission, and Pentecostal churches have been the most effective in doing so. According to Asamoah-Gyadu (2005), churches and people that utilize television to spread the gospel gain more recognition and relevance. As a result, for churches and televangelists, television functions as a marketing and promotional tool. Televangelism is based on the belief that television has the capacity to overcome political and cultural barriers to world-wide evangelism.

Despite this, viewers have an active role in the communication (televangelism) process. Despite the fact that research such as Horsefield’s (1984) on religious television shows that most religious programs’ audiences are significantly segregated, According to Anagbogu, S. C. (2012), a detailed examination of televangelist users suggests a rise in the rate of use. Consequently, despite the widespread use of teleevangelism for the spread of Christian religion, it is unknown what kinds of purposes or gratifications the consumers of these messages put them to. There are few research that revalidate the uses and satisfaction theory in connection to televangelism, according to the available literature. This observed vacuum in the literature prompted the researcher to pursue this research, which focuses on an analysis of the uses and gratifications of televangelism in Nigeria using Aba residents as case study.

1.3       Objective of the study

The broad objective of this study is to examine uses and gratifications of televangelism in Nigeria using Aba resident as case study. Specifically the study sought to;

  1. Ascertain the extent to which Aba residents expose themselves to televangelism programmes;
  2. Find out if Aba residents uses televangelism messages;
  3. Investigate the gratifications southeast residents derive from exposure to televangelism programmes.
  4. Determine if televangelism has influence on Aba residents.

1.4       Research Questions

The research is guided by the following question

  1. What is the extent to which Aba residents expose themselves to televangelism programmes?
  2. Do Aba residents uses televangelism message as derived from television preachers?
  3. Do Aba resident  derive gratifications   from exposure to televangelism programmes?
  4. Does listening to televangelism has  any influence on Aba residents?

1.5       Significance of the study

Findings from the study will be relevant to televangelists and television stations with data on the pros and cons of their programme as it will help them televangelists to sharpen and when necessary, re-engineer their programmes. The finding of this research will also reveal to televangelists and television station the gratifications that audience get from viewing the programme. Empirically the study will add to the body of existing literature and serve as a reference material to both student and scholars who wishes to conduct further studies in related field.

1.6       Scope of the study

The scope of this study borders on  uses and gratifications of televangelism in Nigeria The study ascertained the extent to which Aba residents expose themselves to televangelism programmes. It investigated if  residents uses televangelism messages. It investigated if   Aba  residents derive gratifications from exposure to televangelism programmes. The study is however delimited to Aba Residents in Abia State with preference to Emmanuel TV.

1.7       Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that it is a new discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. Despite the constraint  encountered during the  research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.

1.8       Definition of terms

Television: Television is the system for sending pictures and sound by electrical signals over a distance, so that people can receive them in their home.

Televangelism: Televangelism is the use of media, specifically radio and television, to communicate Christianity. Televangelists are ministers, whether official or self-proclaimed, who devote a large portion of their ministry to television broadcasting.

 Uses and Gratification: Uses and gratifications theory is an approach to understanding why and how people actively seek out specific media to satisfy specific needs. UGT is an audience-centered approach to understanding mass communication.


Anagbogu, S. C. (2012). Televangelism in Awka Urban: an evaluation of its uses and gratifications. Master’s thesis submitted to the department of mass communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka.

Asemah, E. S., Nwammuo, A. N. & Nkwa-Uwaoma, A. O. A. (2016). Theories and models of communication: Revised Edition. Jos: Jos university press.

Horsefield, P.G. (1984). Religious television: The American experience. New York: Longman.

Ihejirika, W. (2006). From Catholicism to Pentecostalism: Role of Nigerian televangelists in religious conversion. Port Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press. Katz, E. (1987). Communication research since Lazars field. Public Opinion Quarterly, 51, 525 – 545.

Kunock, I. (2016). Televangelism, self-styling and medical care among the Moghamo people of the North West Region of Cameroon. The International Journal of Humanities & Social Studies,4(4), 2123-2141.

Kyle, R. (2010). The electronic church: An echo of American culture. Direction journal, 39, 91-109

Mokaya, E. N. (2015). Televangelism and the changing habits of worshippers in Nairobi County. An Unpublished Research Project Presented to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Nairobi.

Naggar, S. (2014). The impact of digitization on the religious sphere: televangelism as an example, Lancaster University journal, 6(6), 25-41

Rubin, A.M. (1984). Ritualised and Instrumental Television Viewing. Journal of Communication, 34 (3), 67



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