If you read our site and some of our other blog posts you may find we talk quite a bit about the different techniques and strategies necessary to start a satellite TV channel. We talk about signal delivery, studio setup, video servers and several other issues. However one thing we have not discussed much about is what satellite or satellites should you broadcast on? This is indeed a question some people put no thought into while others put this as their number one priority.
If you already know what satellite you want to broadcast on and you are sure of your market potential then this article may do you little benefit. However if you are unsure or you are broadcasting to a country or countries that you are not familiar with then you need to keep a few facts in mind.
The first and foremost (and the most obvious) in your mind will be the geographical area (or better known as the satellite footprint) that the satellite covers. Most satellite footprints cover several countries or entire continents. However as impressive as a satellite footprint might sound it means nothing if there are not antennas tuned in to that satellite. In other words you can reach a entire continent but if there are no dishes (receivers/subscribers) pointed at that particular satellite then your effort is in vain. You may get a lower monthly rate for your satellite channel but how does that help if know one is watching? Church's fall victim to this the most as they get sold on reaching a huge continent or area (for example Asia, or Europe or Africa) and are convinced to into signing a long term contract for a lower monthly price only to find out very few households actually are tuned in to that particular satellite.
Choosing a satellite depends on several factors.
One - The most single most important factor is how many people have antennas (dishes) pointed at that particular satellite? The more popular a satellite is the more it costs to broadcast on. A satellite reaching 1 million viewers will be much cheaper than one reaching 40 million.
Two - Is your channel a FTA channel? FTA stands for "Free to Air". Do not let that confuse you as meaning free for you to broadcast. What it means is free for your viewers to see the channel without paying a subscription fee. Or are you going to charge a subscription fee for your channel? If there is a subscriptions fee some satellites may serve the purpose better than others.
Three - Your budget. If you have a low budget then your options may be limited and you may have to make sacrifices to fit your budget. Although I never recommend broadcasting on a satellite with few viewers other techniques can be applied to lower the monthly fees. Some of these techniques deal with the compression of the video on the satellite transponder instead of using a fixed bit rate (Okay if that sounds confusing do not worry we can help you understand it easier). Pricing is always based on the amount of bandwidth you purchase. The more bandwidth the better quality of picture you have broadcasting to your viewers.
Are you ready to take the next step to start your Satellite TV station? Next