Until the last two decades, starting a TV station was a prohibitively expensive investment that few individuals could afford aside from particularly wealthy people like Ted Turner. With the rise of online video sites and the decreasing costs of technology, starting an online television network is easy.
There are many benefits to starting your station online — the cost, simplicity and reduced legal restrictions make it drastically easier than a traditional broadcast station, and as an added bonus, you can even reach people around the globe. Before you start your station, though, you need to do some brainstorming to get a clear idea of what you want to offer. Consider the programming, timing, events and other aspects of programming. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do before moving forward on strategy, and that's especially true if you have partners who might have different ideas than you.
Once you have an idea of what kind of content you want to air, decide whether you want to offer constant streaming or allow for video-on-demand services. A constant streaming channel is always on (although there can be hours where you don't broadcast anything, and the content itself can be prerecorded just like a traditional TV channel), and this means you'll decide what viewers watch. This means you'll need to decide whether to broadcast only your own content or to include other videos that may be public domain or something to which you obtain the rights.
If you decide to do a video-on-demand channel, you simply provide a selection of content and then the viewers decide what they want to watch at any time. Whichever option you choose, you should do plenty of research by watching other stations as well as shows on platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo. Try to find people making videos that would fit in well with your station and try to build relationships with them. They can help provide advice on making your own videos, may be willing to sell you their content to air on your station and could also help you promote your station once it's launched.
Once you know what you'd like to do with your channel, you'll need to put together the station website. Buy a domain name and choose a web-hosting provider that will allow you to scale up your bandwidth (videos take a lot of bandwidth) for a reasonably low price.
Hire a team of coders to build your website. Even if you want to use a streaming service like Viloud or Strimm to actually host the video content for you, you'll need an easily navigable site with at least a home, about us and contact page that have place holders for ads and the videos themselves.
If you are choosing to create your own content — in lieu of or in addition to finding third-party content — find a suitable place to film your videos. Keep in mind that you'll need ample space for filming and editing equipment. Obtain all the equipment necessary to record and edit your videos, keeping in mind that you may need slightly different materials depending on what you'll be filming and whether you want to stream live or prerecorded content. You may need high-definition cameras, microphones, green screens, headsets, lighting kits, professional editing software and more.
Come up with ideas, write scripts and film your content. Edit the material and then load it on your channel. Remember that you don't need tons of content to start, but it should be high quality if you want viewers. Even if you plan to do mostly live streams, you can repeat your content while not filming when you first start to maximize the number of people who see it.
Once your channel is launched, you'll need to promote it — after all, even if you made the greatest content ever, it will never be seen if no one knows about it. Share your content on your social media accounts and other websites and be sure to create and monitor social media accounts for your new station. Send press releases to PR sites and see if you can get other online shows and channels to do an interview or partnership with you. Don't be afraid of using paid advertising as long as it's effective.