Do you want to start an internet TV station business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting an internet TV station with NO money and no experience plus a sample internet TV station business plan template.
Many people are now beginning to stream content online than paying to watch traditional cable or satellite television. This means that these people can watch what they want and when they want to without having to wait for the program to appear on the TV guide.
This is why many individuals and even companies are starting their own internet television stations and becoming successful in it. However, while it is easy to become very successful in this business, you have to ask yourself the right questions so that you do not end up wasting your money.
It is important that you know what goals you are trying to achieve as well as the reason why you are looking to start an internet TV station. So, you need to ask questions like ‘why you want to start’, ‘what you intend to offer’, what timings will be preferable for you’ and ‘what you are going to broadcast’?
Knowing the answers to these questions will enable you to better write out your plans. It will also enable you to conduct the right research in order to know what outcomes are likely to exist for those decisions you might be making.
You will rack up different kinds of expenses when starting your internet television station, and this will give you an insight into how much your start-up capital will be. First off, you will need to get a professional to develop a website that can handle all the tasks that are expected of an internet television station.
You will also need to decide on the type of features and capabilities that your website would need. Other questions that you will need to ask yourself is if you will be charging subscriptions, if you will need a mailing list, an area for members, a blog or any special features.
Before you can however create a website, you must choose a unique domain name that can be easily remembered. Ensure that the name you have chosen isn’t in use by anyone else.
You can search the WHOIS database to be sure or check with the USPTO to ensure that your intended name hasn’t already been trademarked. Once your website has been developed, you will then need to find a suitable host for your website.
Your internet TV station will typically make money from advertisers and subscribers and so in order to stay organized, you might subscribe to a service that will help organize billing and the receipt of payment from those that have subscribed to your station.
If you are however making use of a YouTube channel, then revenue will be shared via advertisements from YouTube itself and monetizing your channel will be highly dependent on the kind of service or software that you use.
However, if any of your content is not yours, then you will need to get permission from the copyright owners before you can monetize the channel.
Steps to Starting an Internet TV Station Business
1. Understand the Industry
The internet TV station business industry threatened the traditional television industry for many years due to the fact that the former had to deal with extremely large files that required a strong network and significant bandwidth. The tide is gradually changing as network capacity is now so much better and the necessary infrastructure that can deliver live and lengthy linear television content to a large number of people is in place.
With the maturity of the streaming-video (mobile and landline) infrastructure, it has placed the traditional TV distribution industry at a very large risk.
A lot of players in the internet television station industry have matured rapidly and are stealing a significant share of the market from satellite and traditional cable television companies. The industry has grown from 10 percent of the total US television industry value in 2014 to about 20 percent in 2018, and this percentage derives revenue of $30 billion.
Gradually, many companies and advertising agencies have started circumventing traditional television distribution partners in order to experiment with new media, technologies as well as distribution models and therefore through that expand on their digital engagement.
According to research, most US viewers used to spend more than four hours every day watching TV and paying an average monthly bill of $75. These bills have been growing steadily since the early days of pay TV but there are a large number of customers who are now dropping pay TV or hadn’t subscribed in the first instance.
According to a survey, more than 13 million US households in the united states had no pay TV service but had broadband in the fourth quarter of 2015 which was up from the nearly 10 million from the first quarter of 2013. And so as the price for pay TV continue to climb, the alternatives offered by the internet has caused many viewers to look for better value elsewhere.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic compositions of those that are likely to stream the content of an internet television are mostly teenagers, young adults and even middle aged adults. Others are corporate entities and advertising agencies who would use the platform in order to reach their own target customers.
The increase in the number of smartphones and PCs have made it extremely possible for many people to go online and stream whatever contents they want. Therefore, if you are looking to define the demography for your internet television station business, you should try and make it as all-encompassing as possible.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
There aren’t a lot of niches available for the internet television business and any entrepreneur who is looking to start the business on a niche should first determine what kind of target audience he is looking to get and from there know what content should be offered.
However, it is important that the target market is a large one so that you don’t end up offering a niche service that very few people will like to stream. Some of the niche ideas within this particular business that you can therefore specialize on include;
- Sports content
- Kids content
- Educational content
- Religious content
- Entertainment content
- Movies content
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The internet television station business is not difficult or expensive to start up and this means that anyone can start the business from any part of the world, thereby making the level of competition in the industry stiff.
All the audience want is that they are able to stream high quality videos and that the content should be as enjoyable as possible regardless of where the internet television station is hosted and so this makes getting noticed very tough as lots of brands already dominate the industry. The industry is very fragmented as only very few internet television stations are dominating the industry.
Therefore, if you are looking to start your internet TV station in the United States, then you should be prepared to face a lot of competition both within and outside the country and therefore should have strategies in place that will allow you stand out.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are brands that stand out and even though the internet television business industry is relatively new when compared to other forms of industry, there are still brands that have stood out from the rest due to the content they stream, their advertising and promotional strategies and the wide platform that they offer their audience.
Some of the well-known internet television stations include;
- Amazon Prime Instant Video
- Hulu and Hulu Plus
- HBO Now
- Google Play Store
- Reddit TV
- Apple TVs
The US television industry has been disrupted by digitization as streaming has changed the relationship in the traditional TV value chain. The structured relationships where studios and right holders relied on cable networks and broadcast in order to pay for their content, and the networks relying on the pay TV distributors to help deliver content into the homes of people is no longer intact as internet televisions have started emerging and armed with different models and motivations have threatened the traditional ecosystem.
Some school of thought initially believed that the traditional TV industry will evolve but in such a way as not to cause any major disruptions to existing relationships and also not letting slip any major share in market value; all these have however changed as the online ecosystem has caused a major shift in the industry especially in fundamental components such as in advertising, consumer services as well as content development and distribution.
According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2014, 68 percent of adults have a mobile device and 87 out of 100 adults use the internet in the United States. The internet has therefore been used to create a television outlet in order to reach an audience with certain interests and views.
Even though spending on digital media has received a huge boost especially in social and video format, the technology however to project advertising in the online TV industry is one that has continued to encounter lots of problems. However, online players are coming up with innovative means which can appeal to advertisers.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
One key decision that entrepreneurs have to make is whether to start the business from scratch or to buy a franchise because while both options might help the business attain its goals and objectives fast, only one will rightly suit the business. One thing you should however note is that this kind of business isn’t one where franchise opportunities are available so the only option available is starting from the scratch.
Even though an internet TV station can be easily started from scratch, a certain amount of planning needs to go into starting the business. If you haven’t run any business before, you need to conduct a lot of research and read up severally so you have an idea on how you can run your business especially as you would be handling important aspects such as financing, advertising, promotion and marketing.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
No matter how simple a business might look, there will always be threats and challenges that will crop up and so it is left for a committed entrepreneur to know how to handle them whenever they do. Also, having a clear plan on what you intend to do with your business will help in handling the threats and challenges whenever they arise.
Some of the threats and challenges that you are likely to face when looking to start your internet TV station include; stiff competition from already existing internet TV stations, having to attract audience to your internet TV station and keeping them interested, industry regulations and competition from new internet TV stations.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Choosing an appropriate legal entity for your internet television station is very important because the legal entity you choose can have a considerable impact on how you can attain the goals and objectives of your business. It is therefore important that you conduct a thorough research about the business you intend starting so as to know the right legal entity for your business or you engage the services of an attorney to help you out.
There are several legal entities available for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the United State of America and they include; sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC) and a corporation. These legal entities have attributes that are used in distinguishing them such as; ease of setup, ownership and control, investors’ expectation, flexibility issues and taxation structure.
The internet TV station is not a regular sort of business and so starting the business under a sole proprietor or partnership structure might not be the best for you. You are better off considering a legal entity such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation regardless of whatever scale you intend to start the business with.
If however, you engage the services of an attorney; he might recommend that you start with an LLC especially as it is a flexible form of legal entity when it comes to handling paperwork, having a limited liability and also paying tax, as owners pay tax on their income returns. One thing that however makes the LLC different from a corporation is that with the LLC, the company cannot go public and source for funds from shareholders.
The corporation is split into the S Corporation and the C Corporation. The C Corporation is that which is mostly used by specialist businesses and so even if you intend to choose a corporation; it is best to choose the S Corporation as it is similar to an LLC in terms of taxation. However, the amount of paper work required in order to set up a corporation would need the input of an attorney.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When starting a business, you will require a business name that will stand you apart from others running the same business. A Business title=”business name” data-wpil-keyword-link=”linked”>business name is very important and must be given due consideration. Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for an internet TV station include;
- Goshun TV
- Prime Time TV
- Fula TV
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Starting a business and making sure it runs is not the end as you will need to protect the business by getting insurance policies. There are a lot of businesses that encounter calamities in the United States and never recover because they had not protected their businesses.
While getting the right insurance policies might be a bit confusing due to the many insurance policies that abound, it is necessary to get the right guidance from an insurance agent or broker. Some of the insurance policies that you will need to purchase when looking to start your internet TV station include;
- General Liability Insurance
- Commercial Property Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Errors and Omissions Insurance
- Umbrella Insurance
- Cyber Liability Insurance
- Payment Protection Insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Intellectual property protection (IPP) for certain kinds of business is very important and television content is amongst things that usually require protection. Not only will you need to protect your content but you will also need to ensure that all content that will be streamed via your television station are duly protected.
Asides from protecting the content which you stream, you will also need to ensure that your company’s name and logo are protected. Engage the services of an attorney that has a thorough knowledge of your industry to help file for IPP with the USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
If you are looking to start an internet television station, then it is not important for you to acquire professional certification before you can run the business in the United States of America.
You might however need to get professionally certified in different disciplines that will not only make your business stand out but also give you the edge in running your business.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Whatever business you are looking to start, it is important that you get all necessary documentations in place if you intend to run your business without experiencing any sort of hitches from constituted authorities. If you have no idea of what documents you would require, you might need to contact those already in the business to help you out or you might need to engage the services of an attorney that has a thorough knowledge of the industry you are in to help you out.
Some of the legal documents that you will therefore require when looking to start your internet TV station include;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Business Plan
- Business License and Permit
- Employment Agreement
- Insurance Policy
- Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN)
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Financing is very important either for a start-up or an already existing business regardless of the type of business that is being run and therefore should not be treated with levity. Even if you have the best business idea, if you do not have the required amount needed to make the idea become reality, your business idea will just remain as such.
This goes to show how important it is for there to be a business plan in place as this will convince intending investors about how serious and committed you are to your business. Some of the financing options that you can explore when looking to start your internet TV station include;
- Generating your start-up capital from personal savings or sale of properties
- Sourcing for soft loan from friends and family members
- Raising capital from business partners or angel investors
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Where you intend to locate your internet television station does not matter as this is a business that you can run from home as long as you have space to store the equipment and as long as it is conducive. Running your internet television station from home will help you save up on overhead costs as well as other expenses that you might have acquired if you were running the business from a leased facility.
If you are however planning to run a medium to large scale internet TV station, then you might need to think of securing a facility to run the business and this therefore means choosing a location that will accommodate your staff as well as the equipment that will be used in running the business. The location should also be where employers and those that intend to visit your business can easily access.
If you are therefore going to be leasing or building a studio, ensure that you have engaged the services of a real estate agent in order that you might be able to get a location in an area that would best suit you.
Regardless of where you intend to set up your internet TV station – at home or in a leased facility – it is critical that the space is large enough to have an area dedicated for keeping essential equipment and for filming as you will need the area to look great for film.
If you are going to be leasing a location for your internet YV station, ensure that it is within your budget so that you do not end up causing a strain on the overall budget.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
Starting an internet TV station is a very cost effective business as the channels as well as the programs on the internet TV station can be immediately accessed by anyone in any part of the world that has high-speed internet connection. There are several websites in existence that offer services that can help entrepreneurs launch their own TV channels.
You should however first obtain a domain name for your internet TV channel and consider getting a .tv extension instead of the regular .com or .org. Ensure that you choose a domain name that can be easily remembered as most effective domain names are usually under three or at most four syllables. Ensure that your domain name is registered in popular domain register sites such as domain.com or GoDaddy.com.
Purchasing the necessary equipment that you will need for your internet television station business that will ensure that you are able to record videos as well as broadcast live is very important. Some of the equipment you will need include; high-definition camera, microphone, headset, screens or light kit. You will also need to acquire professional editing software such as Adobe Premier.
Depending on the scale which you are going to start your internet TV station, you might decide to run the business yourself or hire staff that will help you achieve your goals and objectives. If you are going to be hiring staff, ensure that you hire those that thoroughly understand the business and are also highly skilled and committed to helping you achieve your goals and intentions.
Therefore, in order to be able to run your internet TV station successfully, you might need between 3 and 5 staff.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
There are two basic options available when it comes to creating content that will be streamed from your internet television station. The first is a screen capture video and the second is a full motion video.
The screen capture video is a combination video of the action that is taking place on your computer screen with your voice being used as the narration. This process of content generation is usually for content that are instructional in nature. Once this is done, viewers can then download from your website either free or for a fee.
The other option has to do with making use of a full-motion video either from a camcorder or a webcam. However, this option will ensure that the content gets published easily through certain formats that are easily found in most web browsers.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Marketing is a very important aspect when it comes to running a business because it is through marketing that you can achieve your set objectives. Therefore, there is no entrepreneur or corporation that leaves marketing to chance as this is something that has to be thoroughly planned.
The good thing with conducting a market research before putting down your marketing plans is that it allows you to not only have an idea of what the target market wants but also to know how best you can take advantage of your competitors and still come out tops. Since a large portion of your revenue will come through marketing, it is therefore important that you take crafting your marketing plan very seriously.
Because this sort of business is not as conventional as other forms of businesses, you will need to employ conventional and unconventional strategies in ensuring that you increase awareness for your business.
If you have the means, you might also recruit in-house marketing staff to help draft the right strategies that you can use in marketing your business so as to attract subscribers as well as advertisers. Ensure that you set aside a marketing budget that will help you achieve your goals.
Some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you will therefore need to adopt in order to promote your internet TV station include;
- Ensuring that you use your website as a platform to promote your internet TV station
- Making sure that your internet TV station is listed in reputable online directory
- Offer high quality content to your viewers all the time
- Advertise your business in popular online forums and blogs
- Make use of your social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your business
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Every entrepreneur knows that in order for the business to remain relevant, several promotional activities have to take place. Boosting one’s brand is a task that all businesses have to engage in because it helps your business penetrate the market and get a fair share for itself.
The fact that you will be running your internet TV station online means that you will be carrying out more promotional activities online, so you should ensure that there are strategies in place that will enable you stand out especially as the internet is a very crowded place.
Asides from the internet being very crowded, the industry is dominated by huge players and so to ensure that you get noticed, you might need to engage the services of a professional digital promoter to help you out. However, you do not have to solely depend on the internet to create awareness for your internet TV station as there are various offline means which you can use when looking to boost awareness for your business.
Below are some of the strategies that you can use to boost awareness and create a corporate identity for your business;
- Host some live events in order to attract audience to your internet TV station
- Link your internet TV station to your websites and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
- Send out multiple press releases in order to increase awareness about your internet TV station
- Create banner ads on your site in order to increase awareness for the site
- Conduct some high-profile guest interviews in order to attract and increase awareness for your internet TV station
- Partner with others in exchange for free advertising