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A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, whereby a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay television providers. Until the mid-1980s, television programming in most countries of the world was dominated by a small number of terrestrial networks. Many early television networks (such as the BBC, NBC or CBC) evolved from earlier radio networks.

Overview

In countries where most networks broadcast identical, centrally originated content to all of their stations and where most individual television transmitters therefore operate only as large "repeater stations", the terms "television network", "television channel" (a numeric identifier or radio frequency) and "television station" have become mostly interchangeable in everyday language, with professionals in television-related occupations continuing to make a differentiation between them. Within the industry, a tiering is sometimes created among groups of networks based on whether their programming is simultaneously originated from a central point, and whether the network master control has the technical and administrative capability to take over the programming of their affiliates in real-time when it deems this necessary – the most common example being during national breaking news events.

In North America in particular, many television networks available via cable and satellite television are branded as "channels" because they are somewhat different from traditional networks in the sense defined above, as they are singular operations – they have no affiliates or component stations, but instead are distributed to the public via cable or direct-broadcast satellite providers. Such networks are commonly referred to by terms such as "specialty channels" in Canada or "cable networks" in the U.S.

A network may or may not produce all of its own programming. If not, production companies (such as Warner Bros. Television, Universal Television, Sony Pictures Television and TriStar Television) can distribute their content to the various networks, and it is common that a certain production firm may have programs that air on two or more rival networks. Similarly, some networks may import television programs from other countries, or use archived programming to help complement their schedules.

Some stations have the capability to interrupt the network through the local insertion of television commercials, station identifications and emergency alerts. Others completely break away from the network for their own programming, a method known as regional variation. This is common where small networks are members of larger networks. The majority of commercial television stations are self-owned, even though a variety of these instances are the property of an owned-and-operated television network. The commercial television stations can also be linked

In countries where most networks broadcast identical, centrally originated content to all of their stations and where most individual television transmitters therefore operate only as large "repeater stations", the terms "television network", "television channel" (a numeric identifier or radio frequency) and "television station" have become mostly interchangeable in everyday language, with professionals in television-related occupations continuing to make a differentiation between them. Within the industry, a tiering is sometimes created among groups of networks based on whether their programming is simultaneously originated from a central point, and whether the network master control has the technical and administrative capability to take over the programming of their affiliates in real-time when it deems this necessary – the most common example being during national breaking news events.

In North America in particular, many television networks available via cable and satellite television are branded as "channels" because they are somewhat different from traditional networks in the sense defined above, as they are singular operations – they have no affiliates or component stations, but instead are distributed to the public via cable or direct-broadcast satellite providers. Such networks are commonly referred to by terms such as "specialty channels" in Canada or "cable networks" in the U.S.

A network may or may not produce all of its own programming. If not, production companies (such as Warner Bros. Television, Universal Television, Sony Pictures Television and TriStar Television) can distribute their content to the various networks, and it is common that a certain production firm may have programs that air on two or more rival networks. Similarly, some networks may import television programs from other countries, or use archived programming to help complement their schedules.

Some stations have the capability to interrupt the network through the local insertion of television commercials, station identifications and emergency alerts. Others completely break away from the network for their own programming, a method known as regional variation. This is common where small networks are members of larger networks. The majority of commercial television stations are self-owned, even though a variety of these instances are the property of an owned-and-operated television network. The commercial television stations can also be linked with a noncommercial educational broadcasting agency. It is also important to note that some countries have launched national television networks, so that individual television stations can act as common repeaters of nationwide programs.

On the other hand, television networks also undergo the impending experience of major changes related to cultural varieties. The emergence of cable television has made available in major media markets, programs such as those aimed at American bi-cultural Latinos. Such a diverse captive audience presents an occasion for the networks and affiliates to advertise the best progr

In North America in particular, many television networks available via cable and satellite television are branded as "channels" because they are somewhat different from traditional networks in the sense defined above, as they are singular operations – they have no affiliates or component stations, but instead are distributed to the public via cable or direct-broadcast satellite providers. Such networks are commonly referred to by terms such as "specialty channels" in Canada or "cable networks" in the U.S.

A network may or may not produce all of its own programming. If not, production companies (such as Warner Bros. Television, Universal Television, Sony Pictures Television and TriStar Television) can distribute their content to the various networks, and it is common that a certain production firm may have programs that air on two or more rival networks. Similarly, some networks may import television programs from other countries, or use archived programming to help complement their schedules.

Some stations have the capability to interrupt the network through the local insertion of television commercials, station identifications and emergency alerts. Others completely break away from the network for their own programming, a method known as regional variation. This is common where small networks are members of larger networks. The majority of commercial television stations are self-owned, even though a variety of these instances are the property of an owned-and-operated television network. The commercial television stations can also be linked with a noncommercial educational broadcasting agency. It is also important to note that some countries have launched national television networks, so that individual television stations can act as common repeaters of nationwide programs.

On the other hand, television networks also undergo the impending experience of major changes related to cultural varieties. The emergence of cable television has made available in major media markets, programs such as those aimed at American bi-cultural Latinos. Such a diverse captive audience presents an occasion for the networks and affiliates to advertise the best programming that needs to be aired.

This is explained by author Tim P. Vos in his abstract A Cultural Explanation of Early Broadcast, where he determines targeted group/non-targeted group representations as well as the cultural specificity employed in the television network entity. Vos notes that policymakers did not expressly intend to create a broadcast order dominated by commercial networks. In fact, legislative attempts were made to limit the network's preferred position.

As to individual stations, modern network operations centers usually use broadcast automation to handle most tasks. These systems are not only used for programming and for video server playout, but use exact atomic time from Global Positioning Systems or other sources to maintain perfect synchronization with upstream and downstream systems, so that programming appears seamless to viewers.

A major international television network is the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which is perhaps most well known for its news agency BBC News. Owned by the Crown, the BBC operates primarily in the United Kingdom. It is funded by the television licence paid by British residents that watch terrestrial television and as a result, no commercial advertising appears on its networks. Outside the UK, advertising is broadcast because the licence fee only applies to the BBC's British operations. 23,000 people worldwide are employed by the BBC and its subsidiary, BBC Studios.

United States

Broadcasting Act, a network is defined as "any operation where control over all or any part of the programs or program schedules of one or more broadcasting undertakings is delegated to another undertaking or person,"[10] and must be licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Only three national over-the-air television networks are currently licensed by the CRTC: government-owned CBC Television (English) and Ici Radio-Canada Télé (French), French-language private network TVA, and APTN, a network focus

Only three national over-the-air television networks are currently licensed by the CRTC: government-owned CBC Television (English) and Ici Radio-Canada Télé (French), French-language private network TVA, and APTN, a network focused on Indigenous peoples in Canada. A third French-language service, Noovo (formerly V), is licensed as a provincial network within Quebec, but is not licensed or locally distributed (outside of carriage on the digital tiers of pay television providers) on a national basis.

Currently, licensed national or provincial networks must be carried by all cable providers (in the country or province, respectively) with a service area above a certain population threshold, as well as all satellite providers. However, they are no longer necessarily expected to achieve over-the-air coverage in all areas (APTN, for example, only has terrestrial coverage in parts of northern Canada).

In addition to these licensed networks, the two main private English-language over-the-air services, CTV and Global, are also generally considered to be "networks" by virtue of their national coverage, although they are not officially licensed as such. CTV was previously a licensed network, but relinquished this licence in 2001 after acquiring most of its affiliates, making operating a network licence essentially redundant (per the above definition).

Smaller groups of stations with common branding are often categorized by industry watchers as television systems, although the public and the broadcasters themselves will often refer to them as "networks" regardless. Some of these systems, such as CTV 2 and the now-defunct E!, essentially operate as mini-networks, but have reduced geographical coverage. Others, such as Omni Television or the Crossroads Television System, have similar branding and a common programming focus, but schedules may vary significantly from one station to the next. Citytv originally began operating as a television system in 2002 when CKVU-TV in Vancouver started to carry programs originating from CITY-TV in Toronto and adopted that station's "Citytv" branding, but gradually became a network by virtue of national coverage through expansions into other markets west of Atlantic Canada between 2005 and 2013.

Most local television stations in Canada are now owned and operated directly by their network, with only a small number of stations still operating as affiliates.

Most television services outside North America are national networks established by a combination of publicly funded broadcasters and commercial broadcasters.[citation needed] Most nations established television networks in a similar way: the first television service in each country was operated by a public broadcaster, often funded by a television licensing fee, and most of them later established a second or even third station providing a greater variety of content. Commercial television services also became available when private companies applied for television broadcasting licenses. Often, each new network would be identified with their channel number, so that individual stations would often be numbered "One", "Two", "Three" and so forth.

United Kingdom