In the past, creating your own TV channel is a thing only possible for ultra-rich people and huge enterprises. However, things have changed with the arrival of high-speed internet and reliable video streaming technologies. It’s now much easier to create a TV channel and run it online on your own, and virtually anyone from anywhere can start their own online TV station. Wanted to create a TV channel but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll discuss all you need to know about how to create a TV channel online and let us begin from the basics.
Starting an Online TV Channel: Your Options
In an online TV channel, we distribute the video content over the internet rather than via radio wave signals distributed by TV transmission towers, as in traditional TV. We call this distribution method Over The Top (OTT) to differentiate it from traditional TV, which we often call Over The Air (OTA).
When, for example, we upload one video to YouTube, then we can technically say that we’ve started an online TV channel via a YouTube channel, but nowadays we have several different options in creating an OTT TV channel, based on the different content delivery methods:
- On-demand: a content delivery method where the audience/viewer can watch any content of their choice, any time, and on any device whenever they want. For example, on YouTube or Netflix.
- One-time live-streaming: the video content is broadcasted live, and the audience must tune-in to the TV channel when the content is being streamed. The actual stream can be pre-recorded, and can also be saved to view later as on-demand content.
- Linear streaming: the video content is delivered in a 24/7 continuous stream, similar to traditional TV broadcasts.
In starting our TV channel, we can choose between these three options, and we can also use several of them at once. For example, we can broadcast our videos in a linear broadcast, but also make some of them available on-demand.
How To Monetize Your TV Channel
Even if you don’t plan to start the TV channel as a for-profit business, you’ll still need to figure out how you are going to monetize the channel, at least to cover its operational costs.
So, how can we monetize our TV channel? In general, we also have three different options:
- Free and ad-supported: YouTube is a good example of this monetization method. Here we broadcast the content for free, but we display ads to our viewers. We can also let viewers pay a subscription fee to access the ‘premium’ version of the channel so they can watch without ads.
- Subscription-based model: like Netflix. Your viewers must pay a certain amount of subscription fee before they can access your TV channel.
- Transactional-based model: similar to pay-per-view model in traditional TV. Viewers can pay a certain fee to access individual content.
Choosing The Right Platform For Your TV Channel
To start an online TV channel, we have to choose the right platform based on the two factors we’ve discussed above: choosing a platform that allows a monetization model and a content distribution model of our choice.
In practice, we have several different options in starting an online TV channel based on the platform it’s going to be built upon:
- Building your own platform: you can technically build your own website, application, and video hosting/player platform from scratch. This option will obviously provide the most freedom, but also the most potentially expensive and time-consuming option. You might need the help of an expensive professional in doing so.
- Free social platforms: you can build your TV channel on platforms like YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitch, and other social platforms for free.
- Using a professional video platform: You can use your own website/app and embed Viloud’s player there to publish your content. With Viloud, you’ll get benefits like:
- Versatility: you can customize your video player and your site/app with your own logo, brand colors, links, etc. You also have the freedom in how you are going to monetize your content and what types of content you’d like to publish.
- On-demand+live linear: you have the option to publish two different channel types: on-demand, where your viewers can choose which content they’d like to watch anytime; and linear (24/7 continuous stream).
- File organization: with Viloud you’ll have your video files stored in an organized way so you can easily find any content whenever you need them. You can store your videos in Viloud’s cloud storage or you can also host your videos on other platforms and embed the links to Viloud’s player.
Getting The Right Equipment
Now that you’ve chosen a video platform to start your TV channel, you should invest in the right equipment to start recording and broadcasting content on your TV channel.
Although the tools and equipment you’ll need will vary depending on the scale of your TV channel, among other factors, here are some essential ones:
- Video camera: you’ll need at least one decent-quality camera, and two for redundancies if you plan to live-stream your content.
- Microphone: and other audio equipment you may need.
- Audio/video accessories: like a tripod, mic stand, stabilizers, etc.
- Lighting: crucial to assist your video production and streaming
- Mixer and switcher: essential if you are using more than one video source.
- Encoders: An encoder translates your data into an internet-friendly, compressed package. We can choose between hardware or software encoders.
While it’s now much easier than ever to create a TV channel on your own, you’ll still need careful planning on how you are going to distribute your content and monetize your channel. By choosing the right platform like Viloud, you can get more versatility in reaching out to your target audience while also getting a reliable hosting platform to store and distribute your content.