On Monday, a new player entered the jam-packed television landscape when the Church of Scientology launched its own 24-hour network.
According to Deadline, promotional information from the controversial church indicates the new network will be available on U.S. cable provider DirectTV, and will also be accessible via Apple, Roku, Amazon Fire and Google Chromecast, in addition to a free app that can be downloaded.
On the network’s recently launched Twitter account, the church teased the network’s arrival in a series of tweets, including one featuring a preview of some of the network’s programming.
According to the app description in the Google Play store, the new network will feature such original series as “Meet a Scientologist”, “Voices for Humanity” and “L. Ron Hubbard: In His Own Voice”, in addition to a series of “Scientology Principles” films that explain “Basic Scientology Technology.”
The Scientology Network launched with a special message from church leader David Miscavige, who made a rare onscreen appearance to introduce the new network.
The notoriously media-shy Miscavige, who served as best man at Tom Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes, reportedly introduced an hour-long launch special from the church’s Spiritual Center in Clearwater, Florida.
“We’re not here to preach to you, to convince you or to convert you,” said Miscavige in his intro. “No, we simply want to show you, because after all, the first principle of Scientology is that it’s only true if it is true to you. So, take a look and then decide for yourself.”
As Deadline points out, the network’s business model “is not immediately clear,” as a typical broadcaster would monetize the network through advertising. Some advertisers, notes Deadline, may not want to associate themselves with the Church of Scientology, which has come under fire in recent years as some high-profile former members such as director Paul Haggis and “Kevin Can Wait” star Leah Remini began speaking out against the church after leaving, while Remini’s “Scientology and the the Aftermath” series on A&E features ex-Scientologists telling their own personal horror stories on a weekly basis.