At present, the television industry is globally ruled by some of the popular TV channels like ESPN, Disney Channel, Discovery, CNN, MTV, Netflix etc so starting a new TV channel seems very difficult. According to a popular survey, NBC is the biggest network, followed by CBC, QBC, ESPN, and Fox with a revenue collection of $4461 million in the year 2002 (there is no research happened after that). Also, it has the maximum viewership of more than 12.2 million. It claims ESPN to be the fastest growing channel. The best 25 global TV channels generated 38.2 billion in revenues in the year 2002. The thing that makes them so successful is their exclusivity and vivacity in content.
This column isn’t about these top channels, but it is about how you can start a TV channel of your own. As you can assess from the data, it can be a highly profitable business endeavor.
To start a good TV channel. Well, it might seem a high budget venture that requires Industrial contacts as well as political approach. However, there is nothing like that. By following guidelines and with some investment, one can start a TV channel in no time. The first and the foremost thing, necessary to make the roadmap is the awareness of essential information and laws issued by the government in this interest. Fortunately, in this era of digitalization, the path of making your dreams of running a TV channel business has become significantly easier. In this article, you will be knowing the crucial information on how to start TV channel.
At first, you have to select the mode of TV transmission. Thereafter, you have to look at legalities, contracts, and formalities to get a permission for starting it in your country. Perhaps, the most important aspect is selecting genres and the quality of your content as you want your channel to excel and don’t want it to be generalized as another TV channel in the already overcrowded broadcasting sector.
Table of Content
- Types of Broadcasting System
- Conventional System
- Analog Terrestrial TV
- Digital Satellite TV
- Cable TV
- Modern Systems
- Digital Terrestrial TV
- Video on Demand
- Internet TV Channel
- Conventional System
- Budget Needed
- Revenue Model
- Shooting/ Filming
Now let’s discuss steps of starting a television channel Step by step. Though before moving any further I would recommend you to go through our article Start Your Business in which we have mentioned some basic things about starting a business like idea development, raising initial capital, scaling etc.
Types of Broadcasting Systems for TV Channel Transmission
So, the journey of starting a TV channel will begin with choosing the modes of TV transmission. Usually, the two popular types of TV transmission are the conventional and the modern broadcasting systems. There are different types of TV transmission comes under these two systems. Here is the list of various TV broadcast systems that you can select for the transmission of your TV channel.
It includes those traditional broadcasting systems, that has always been used by channels for broadcasting. Even some of them are still popular. Here is the list of some of them.
1. Analog Terrestrial TV
In this system, the television broadcasting doesn’t involve underground cables or satellite transmission. In the early phase, this method was very popular. Infact, there was no other method until the 1950s. Afterward, cable television or community antenna television (CATV) started substituting it.
I wouldn’t recommend going with it for your new channel as it’s an outdated technology. You can’t have the crystal-clear clarity for your channels with this broadcasting system. Also, the signals don’t reach remote areas. However, the modern televisions are capable of receiving these signals. As the name suggests, the information about video and sound get encoded as Analog signals. These signals consist of frequency and amplitude variations that get modulated into UHF or VHF carrier. The analog television draws the picture for many times on the display in the PAL system.
2. Digital satellite TV
At present, this is the most popular way of delivering television signals. In this system, the audience receives the signal through set-top boxes and satellite dishes. It provides an ample of channels and services even in the remote areas.
As the name suggests, satellite relays the signals with the uplink satellite dishes. These dishes are around 9 to 12 meters diameter. For transmitting the uplinked signals, the uplink dish is faced toward the particular satellite. After traveling a major distance, the downlinked satellite signals get weak, but the parabolic dish receives and reflects it to the focal point. A down converting device called LNB (low-noise block) is present at that focal point. It gathers, amplifies and converts the signals in the L-band range. Finally, you are able to see the channel through the set-top box.
You can host your channel through this popular technology. It has many advantages. The biggest advantage is you can reach the maximum audience by using this technology. You have to manage uplink satellite dishes and other broadcasting equipment.
3. Cable TV
As the name suggests, the transmission is carried through fixed coaxial cables in this broadcasting system. It is very different from the traditional system of broadcasting such as analog or satellite dishes. It is used to distribute television channels to subscribers from a particular region. Usually, people use it for hosting local channels. Their content is usually relevant for people within that region.
The network architecture is like a tree where the branches carry the signals to the streets, and the broadcaster is like a trunk. There is a limitation for coaxial cable. Its bandwidth is capable of carrying signals for just hundred television channels. With the distance, the signals also decay. Therefore, they have to use amplifiers for boosting the signals at a certain distance. It works on RF band and most of the TVs are compatible with it.
If you have to host a local channel to fix subscribers within your region, then you can go with this system. The investment is comparatively low. However, you can’t transmit high definition signals over it.
Over the last decade, many modern technologies evolved for broadcasting TV channels, you can use these systems to start your tv channel. They are as follows:
1. Digital Terrestrial TV
This technology provides a larger number of channels via aerial broadcasts to the traditional antenna rather than cable connection or satellite dish. It can also deliver high definition picture quality in MPEG-4/AVC coded into a 24 Mbit/s transmission channel. Usually, it is popular in European countries. It is not popular in many parts of the world. Thus, you have to check the availability in your country before opting it.
2. Video on Demand
In this system, users can watch the video in real time as per their demand. This system is streamed through a set-top-box. It lets the user watch or even download it on their devices so they can view it at any time. You can go with this method if you want to start a video hosting channel. It is good for starting a music channel. However, you have to update the videos regularly.
3. Internet TV Channel
With the popularization of the Internet, the Internet TV channel gained momentum as well. It is a digital distribution of television content over the Internet. In fact, it has also revolutionized the conventional channels by hosting them. It is way better than coaxial cables in terms of signal quality, interference, signal lever, and potential of the transmission.
You can even start a web TV i.e. A normal TV channel hosted on a specific website or app transmitting information via the Internet. The best part is, it requires comparatively low investment. All you need is a webcam and a decent internet connection for getting things started. Also, you have to bother less about the legalities because most of the countries don’t have laws for regulating a web channel. Besides, you can perform SEO and other forms of digital marketing to make your channel popular.
Eager for starting an Internet channel? Here is how you can do it.
Step 1- It starts with signing up on a live streaming website, such as Ustream.TV, and livestream.com, and many others. You can search and find the suitable one for you. Most of them are capable to stream your channel for all day long.
Step 2- Afterward, select your channel’s genre. You can start on topics popular on the Internet such as computer gaming, sports, adult education, etc. You should create a schedule for it so that your viewers remember the and switch to their favorite shows at that time.
Step 3- Connect the webcam or the camera you will be using for uploading the live streaming. You can check out the instructions on the hosting website for that. Simply follow the instruction on the streaming website for going live with your channel. Besides, you can promote your channel via digital marketing.
Legalities of Starting TV Channel
After finalizing the broadcasting mode, the next thing you have to care about is the broadcasting laws and regulations. If you are opting conventional methods of broadcasting a TV channel, then you have to care about it most. In most of the countries, the government permission is a must for starting a TV channel.
The Broadcasting laws include various technical parameters as well as various issues regarding the content such as copyright, racism, regionalism, and localism. The TV channels must host the content according to these aspects or they would get penalized or in the worst case get banned. Usually, news channels have to undergo lots of regulation regarding their content, especially in non-democratic countries.
Budget Needed to Start TV Channel
Well, this is the most important aspect to look for when starting a TV channel. Recently, BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is launching a new TV channel for Scotland named as BBC Scotland with a massive budget of £30 million. So, from that, you can access the budget of a national TV channel in the first world. However, the budget will drastically go down if you want to start it in third world countries.
Also, the quality and the total area covered by your tv channel will decide the budget. For a news channel, you have to hire a fleet of journalists, anchors, producers, directors and other staffs. If it a normal entertainment channel, then you have to hire a fleet of actors, directors, producers, etc. The quality of your content mainly decides the expenditure of a TV channel.
The hiring of a studio design engineer will add to the expenditure if you intend to have a studio. You also have to invest in post-production edit suites, Playout mixer, servers and other tools. You will require lots of graphics and electronic news production system. For carrying your channel, the production suite will require fiber connectivity to the network. These all together will cost you around $200000.
Besides, you need a collaboration with Cable TV Provider or Satellite TV provider. Some network won’t allow your uncompressed video. So, you either have to uncompressed video link or an encoder that will cost you around $20000.
This was about starting a traditional TV channel on a large scale but If you have a limited budget, then you can start a local channel via coaxial cables in a locality. However, it would take around $5000 per month to rent services from cable companies. The cable companies can help in broadcasting your channel within a particular city or district. Broadcasting via satellite would be very expensive, so don’t bother with that if you have a low budget.
Besides, the cost of starting an Internet TV is dramatically low. All you have to pay is for the web hosting of your channel. If you are a novice, then you start an Internet channel for educational purpose.
There can be various revenue models for a TV channel. The two key methods of revenue are through subscriber fee and advertising. Usually, the TV channels generate revenue only via advertising.
The popular TV channels with high TRPs can charge MVPD’s or broadcasters for broadcasting their content or channel. This can also lead to negotiations. These charges are usually set to the number of subscribers having access to the TV channel. It can also be set according to the latest TRPs of the channels.
The main source of income is from advertising ventures. It is where TRPs, as well as GRPs, matters the most. TV channels sell advertising time in a pattern such as 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on.
Sponsoring program, event, wardrobe, location, digital can be a way to generate a revenue for a TV channel. Besides, Content royalty can be a way to generate revenue. The TV channels usually own the copyrights of the content hosted on them. If another TV channel wants to host the same content, then they have to pay a royalty fee to the original channel.
A TV channel has to enter into various contracts with various organizations. The first contract that it signs is with the government body regulating the entertainment industry. It allows them to broadcast the TV channel for a particular period. The second most important agreement that it signs is with the broadcaster. Both of these agreements have to get renewed after a certain duration. Besides, one more important contract that you may have to sign is with producers or the content owner of movies and TV shows. Just like songs, movies and TV series are also protected by copyright laws. Usually, they are owned by producers. Hence, before broadcasting them on your channel you have to sign contracts with their owners for relinquishing copyrights and stipulating royalty terms.
For shooting TV shows, you need to hire a showrunner. He leads the show. Initially, his job is to works with scripts, writers, and most importantly casts the actors. Initially, you have to cast the director, writers, talent and assistant producers. It all begins with updating or rewriting the script. Afterward, they will cast the actors via auditions or by direct approaching them. Besides, you also need technical production crew that includes camera crew, light crew, and sound crew. The filming of a show is divided into three parts that are pre-production, production, and post-production. Finally, after filming and processing the complete show, you can relay it on your channel.
In the overcrowded world of TV channels, starting a new channel is a high-risk venture. If you are a newbie and unconfident about your TV channel, then it will be better to start it on coaxial cables or even on the Internet where the investment drastically low.