Starting your own TV channel can be a very impressive and cost-effective business opportunity in 2020 and onwards. It is now quite accessible and affordable to start a channel, and your channel would be immediately available for all people living anywhere in the world (provided they have a sufficient high-speed internet connection).
So, how can we start our own internet TV channel? Below, we will discuss the technical basics of starting and running your TV channel.
Key Questions To Ask
Here are some important basic questions to ask if you want to start your own online TV channel:
- What type of channel would this be? Pure entertainment, news channel, religious/spiritual, sports?
- How will you distribute the channel? Internet-only or via cable/satellite?
- How will you develop your content? Would you purchase pre-produced content? How much budget is available?
- Will this be an on-demand channel or live linear streaming (24/7) channel? Or a mix of both?
It’s very important to consider whether you’d need to broadcast your content live and how live content should be delivered. If, for example, you are going to build a news channel and you need the ability to live broadcast from the field, then you’d need to consider investing in the required equipment.
Market Research and Finding Your Niche
Before anything else, you should determine the niche you’d want to focus on and the ideal audience you’d target. Remember that you are competing with so many other TV channels (both traditional and online) including millions of YouTube channels–you are just another option for viewers to consume content.
So, you’d need to pick a niche that is big enough for you to grow your channel, but at the same time specific enough so we can target a very targeted audience.
Here are some of the common niches that you can consider:
- Sports channel: ideally you should broadcast sports events, but they might be expensive with all the license fees. Yet, you can also cover other things like commentaries, tactical discussions, etc.
- Kids content: a massive niche with a huge potential market. Also, a very wide niche to explore with various potential content.
- Education channel: various sub-niche you can explore in this niche. For example, language-only educations, etc.
- Entertainment: various sub-niche to cover from movies, animations, video games, etc.
- Religion and spirituality: a lot of opportunities to gather a loyal audience in this niche.
Equipment You’ll Need In Starting an Internet TV Channel
Again, go back to your initial planning whether your content would be pre-recorded or whether some or most of them would be streamed live. You should invest in equipment according to your needs, but in general, here are some of the important ones:
- Video cameras
Extremely important if you are going to produce your own content. You should at least get one decent video camera but ideally, you’d need at least two for redundancy. There are now thousands of different cameras available coming in various different brands and with various price tags. Nowadays, there are cameras below $500 that are pretty decent, but there are also professional high-end cameras above $20,000.
- Audio equipment
A proper microphone is very important, and various studies have indicated that the quality of your audio is more important than video quality. Again, microphones come in various types with various price tags, from your laptop’s built-in microphones to professional-quality microphones.
Important if you use more than one camera and/or more than one audio source. With mixing equipment, you can capture multiple video or audio sources and switch between them. This is especially important in a live broadcast.
A video encoder technically compresses the video files to they are not saved as individual images but as an internet-friendly stream of continuous data. We can choose between two types of encoders: hardware and software. In general, hardware encoders are more expensive but are more reliable with better latency.
Choosing Your Streaming Platform
There are generally three main options in getting your TV channel out there:
- Build your own platform: if you do have the technical knowledge, you can build your own platform. However, this can be quite time-consuming and in most cases, impractical unless you are an experienced developer.
- Outsource to your developer: if you have the budget, you can hire a programmer or a full-fledged agency to build your custom-tailored streaming platform
- Use a third-party streaming platform: create your internet TV channel with platforms like Viloud.
With Viloud, for example, you can easily create a channel and embed your player in just a matter of minutes, and you don’t need any programming knowledge to do it. You can simply paste the embed code to your site.
Starting an internet TV channel is now more accessible and affordable than ever, but that also means the competition in this industry is now very tight.
So, the key to starting an internet TV channel is to find and understand your target audience and focus on a niche that can engage this audience. Invest in the right equipment and technological infrastructure according to this target audience, and achieve success in launching your TV station.