The Church of Scientology has launched its cable channel. It has done so by purchasing time on a 24/7/365 basis on channel 320 on Direct TV. However, for all intents and purposes Scientology Television appears to be depending upon being live-streamed on YouTube.
Thus, we can use existing YouTube statistics to predict Scientology Television’s potential for success on YouTube.
Our only caveat is that Scientology’s published numbers are notoriously unreliable and often completely false. For example, Scientology has variously claimed it has eight million members, twelve million members, or simply millions of members.
Absent any independent third party audit, we must take Scientology’s numbers to be both inflated and unverifiable. Moreover, Scientology’s STAND League on Twitter was caught using stock photos and claiming these were actual Scientologists. These fake “stock photo Scientologists” were exposed as such. Scientology has also been suspected of using click farms to boost ratings. With these factors in mind, we proceed with our analysis of Scientology’s performance on YouTube.
We begin with Scientology’s main YouTube channel. We learn there that this channel began on September 19, 2006 and claims 30,521,562 views as of March 14, 2018:
We note that Scientology refuses to disclose the number of subscribers to its channel. Drilling down, we use the YouTube feature that allows us to sort videos from the most popular to the least popular. Here are the ten most popular videos by rank on Scientology’s YouTube channel:
This data shows us that Scientology’s top ten videos have a total of 11,182,000 views. This is 36.6% of the total views claimed for the channel. Of note is Scientology’s 2018 Super Bowl ad with a claimed 2.9 million views. This means that one 2018 Super Bowl commercial accounts for 10% of all views since the channel opened in 2006.
What this tells us is that Scientology spent millions of dollars on a one-time Super Bowl ad in early 2018 to gain 10% of its total YouTube traffic since 2006. This does not bode well for Scientology Television as the channel is not tied to advertising on high profile televised network events such as the Super Bowl, the World Cup, the Academy Awards, or major television franchises like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, or The Big Bang Theory.
Once we deduct the numbers for Scientology’s top ten YouTube videos, we are left with 19,339,562 views since the channel began 135 months ago in September 2006. Less the top ten videos, then, Scientology YouTube has averaged a paltry 143,256 views per month since its inception.
Scientology’s ten lowest ranking YouTube videos produced a pathetic 143,000 views; four of these videos were “The Way to Happiness” themed:
By way of contrast, the top 20 Scientology channels and videos on YouTube that are not favorable to Scientology have a total 72,850,000 views:
|Name||YT Channel Name||Total Views in millions|
|Tom Cruise – Leaked Go to Guns Video||Aleteuk||12.3|
|Karen de la Carriere||Surviving Scientology Channel||7.4|
|Mark Bunker||Xenu TV Channel||7.1|
|Some crazy scientology stuff||hashmanis||5.7|
|Message to Scientology||Anonymous||5.3|
|Tom Cruise’s Heated Interview With Matt Lauer||Today||5.3|
|Angry Gay Pope||Angry Gay Pope Channel||5|
|Chris Shelton||Critical Thinker at Large Channel||3.6|
|Joe Rogan Interviews Leah Remini||Joe Rogan Experience||2.3|
|Scientology in 100 Seconds||AllHailXenuFilm||2|
|Steven Mango||Steven Mango Channel||1.78|
|Chelsea – Netflix||Leah Remini Explains Scientology’s Scam||1.67|
|The Master: How Scientology Works||Nerdwriter1||1.6|
|Aaron Smith-Levin||Growing Up in Scientology Channel||1.5|
|Leah Remini on the Cult of Scientology||Real Time with Bill Maher||1.3|
|Joe Rogan Interviews Ron Miscavige||Joe Rogan Experience||1.3|
|Scientology – Louis Theroux||Joe Rogan Experience||1.3|
|Matthew Santoro||10 Insane Facts About Scientology||1.3|
|Shocking Facts About Scientology||TheRichest||1.1|
The conclusion here is that a highly active group of former Scientologists, critics, and media outlets can easily outpace the three billion dollar Scientology Cult on social media without multi-million dollar Super Bowl ads; 24/7/365 live streaming on YouTube; or spending $4 million dollars per year on carriage fees on Direct TV as Lloyd Grove stated in his recent Daily Beast article David Miscavige Comes Out of the Shadows on the First Night of Scientology’s TV Network. Further, we are restricting our analysis in this article to YouTube; we do not take into account books, movies, and televisions shows. Hence, Going Clear, the book and the film, Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath, CNN’s A History of Violence, the Tampa Bay Times’ The Truth Rundown, Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker and the other leading exposes of Scientology are not factored into our discussion at hand.
In terms of strategy and content, the playlists on Scientology’s YouTube channel suggest that we can expect to see more of the same content from Scientology Television:
Based on the foregoing, my prediction is that this will be the exact content we can expect to see repeated endlessly on Scientology Television:
- Ideal Org grand openings
- Volunteer Ministers
- Meet a Scientologist videos
- A focus on Latin America
- Scientologists making a difference in their communities videos
- CCHR anti-drug and anti-psychiatry videos
- Pseudo-ecumenical efforts using the usual Scientology shills, e.g. Dr. J. Gordon Melton
- Speeches at Ideal Org grand openings by low-ranking functionaries, for example Captain John Galindo, Operations Director National Circle of Aid Technicians of Colombia
What stood out to me in my review of Scientology’s YouTube website for this article is that Scientologist skateboarder Aaron has the largest number of views for an individual Scientologist. With 809,524 views, this young man’s ratings far and away eclipse the ratings for any video featuring Scientology leader David Miscavige. VWD Aaron!
The least popular Scientologist in the “Meet a Scientologist” series of videos appears to be Omar, an expeditionary pilot. Poor Omar has only 1,010 views since his video was released on October 28, 2010:
Bottom Line: My prediction is that Scientology Television will follow the same trajectory as an Ideal Org – which is to say that it will have a shelf life of three weeks and then it will die on the vine.
With an Ideal Org there is excitement the week before the grand opening and David Miscavige’s rope pull. Then there is excitement the two weeks after the grand opening. Thereafter, it is business as usual with the demands for stats, more money, and to get bodies into the shop. Apathy sets in and soon the glory of the grand opening gives way to the punishing and cruel grind of everyday life in Scientology.
The initial burst of interest in Scientology Television will quickly collapse once people see that it is a 24/7/365 cycling of the same content ad nauseum. L. Ron Hubbard’s pedantic lectures and Scientology hyperbole wears thin very quickly; particularly when Netflix beckons.