How Can We Start a TV Channel?

If the question is asked in the 1990s, then the answer might be discouraging for most of us, as we’d need to have a lot of money and resources before we can start a TV channel back then.

Today in 2020, however, the situation is a lot different, and now arguably anyone can start their own TV channel even without spending any penny.

If you are currently planning on starting your own TV channel, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we will share some important tips you’ll need to know on how to create your own TV channel without breaking the bank. 

Starting a TV Channel: 3 Different Approaches

There are now various ways you can use to start your own TV channel, but generally, we can categorize them into three main methods:

  1. Over The Air (OTA): broadcasting your TV channel via the traditional OTA means so your viewers can view your channel via an antenna. You’ll need to buy/rent your own broadcast tower in order to do this, so this is typically the most expensive option.
  2. Cable/Satellite: broadcasting your TV channel via cable or satellite TV network. You will need to partner up with existing cable providers to feature your channel. This can also be an expensive option
  3. Over The Top (OTT): broadcasting your TV channel over the internet. This is the most affordable and accessible option.

Here, we will focus on learning how to broadcast your live TV channel OTT, as we will discuss below. 

Starting a TV Channel Over The Internet: Step-By-Step

You can actually start broadcasting your TV channel over the internet in just five simple steps:

Planning Your Channel

What is your TV channel going to be about? How are you going to promote it? 

You can’t just start streaming your content right away and expect everything to go smoothly. You’ll need a clear strategy to put your TV channel on the right track for success. 

While this can be a very broad topic to discuss, here are some general pointers on how to plan your TV channel for success:

  • Decide on a niche. It’s better to focus on just a niche or two and target a specific audience rather than playing jack-of-all-trades.
  • Define your objective(s), this can significantly help in planning your programs and managing your expectations
  • Identify your target audience and what kind of program/content will attract them
  • Plan how you are going to market your TV channel
  • Your unique selling point and/or competitive advantage. Your audience won’t subscribe to something if they are already getting the same experience elsewhere

Picking a Video Hosting Platform

In starting an online TV channel, we have three main options to consider:

  1. Building your own video hosting and player and a website. You’ll get the most versatility with this approach, but this is the most time-consuming and expensive. You’ll either need to have the programming know-how or hire a developer
  2. Using free platforms. You can technically start your TV channel on free platforms like Facebook, YouTube, or others. You won’t get much freedom in branding and monetization, but it is the easiest and the most accessible option.
  3. Using professional video hosting platforms: Professional online TV channel software like Viloud allows you the most freedom in applying your custom branding and you can monetize your channel however you want it. 

If you are really serious about starting your online TV channel, then we’d recommend using a professional hosting platform so you can get the most versatility in broadcasting your content, branding your website/player, and monetizing your content. 

Also, consider whether you are going to run your channel in a 24/7 linear model, on-demand model, or a mix of both. You’ll want to get a video hosting platform that supports your broadcasting model.

Getting The Right Equipment

At the very least, you should get the following essential equipment: 

  1. Video source: mainly a camera, but can be a video file on a computer (for playback purpose). You can technically use the built-in webcam on your laptop, but high-end video cameras can also cost thousands of dollars. 
  2. Audio source: mainly a microphone, but can be background music and/or audio file. For microphones, there are also a wide variety of options with various price ranges. 
  3. Encoder: a video encoder is responsible for encoding your video stream from continuous image files into a streamable video file. You can use a software encoder run on your computer or a dedicated hardware encoder.
  4. Capture card: if you are using a software encoder, then you’ll need a capture card to connect your camera and microphone to your PC. 

Conclusion

While the idea of starting a TV channel on your own might sound intimidating at first, it’s actually pretty manageable thanks to today’s technologies and platforms like Viloud that offers an easy and affordable way of starting your online TV channel in no time. It’s important, however, to first decide on a niche and a target audience to focus on, so you can deliver a truly unique TV channel that can capture your audience’s attention effectively.

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