The rise of widely accessible streaming video platforms has allowed niche organizations to spawn media companies that pump out propaganda content that they can beam directly to your living room. If you need a break from the gun-porn of NRA TV, but still want a glimpse into a strange apocalyptic alternate reality, you can tune into Scientology TV starting tonight. The channel will be available on DirectTV, and streaming platforms Apple TV and Roku.
The news was originally reported by The Hollywood Reporter, which pointed out that the Scientology TV app is already available for download on the Apple store. DirectTV confirmed to the outlet that the netowrk. is launching today.
A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology confirmed to Gizmodo that “we are launching our own TV network” and that “more information will be available once we begin airing.”
There have been reports of the Church of Scientology’s intentions to launch a TV Network as far back as 2012. The church announced in 2016 it was starting a studio, Scientology Media Productions. These developments have come om the heels of exposés about the church’s dealings, like the HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and A&E’s Scientology and the Aftermath.
A video teaser for the network includes names of some of the series that will air on the network: L. Ron Hubbard in His Own Voice, Meet a Scientologist, Voices for Humanity, Destination: Scientology. If there was any doubt, these titles make it clear that this channel is an attempt to present a positive acounterpoint to the mostly negative documentaries out there: Scientology as an institution with a heroic founder, relatable members, and benevolent intentions.
The NRA TV channel launched in 2016, but the network recently received an onslaught of negative attention after the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Gun-control activists, celebrities, and people who don’t want children to get murdered pushed a campaign to encourage Amazon and Apple to drop the NRA’s service from its platform.
Since Scientology is a controversial religion allegedly that’s been accused of all manner of wrongdoing, the platforms hosting its channel could receive a similar backlash. Streaming platforms are sure to get more pressure to take a stance and either block controversial organizations or to stay neutral.