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A specialty channel (also known in the United States as a cable channel or cable network) can be a commercial broadcasting or non-commercial television channel which consists of television programming focused on a single genre, subject or targeted television market at a specific demographic.
This section reads like a press release or a news article . (November 2022)
The number of specialty channels has greatly increased during the 1990s and 2000s while the previously common model of countries having just a few (national) TV stations addressing all interest groups and demographics became increasingly outmoded, as it already had been for some time in several countries. About 65% of today's satellite channels are specialty channels.[ citation needed ]
Types of specialty services may include, but by no means are limited to:
(These categories are provided for convenience and do not necessarily represent industry-accepted or otherwise legally-binding names or categories for these types of services.)
Some specialty channels may not be free-to-air or may not be available through conventional broadcast or terrestrial television, and are only distributed via multichannel television services such as cable or satellite television. In the United States, such networks are colloquially referred to as cable channels or cable networks (regardless of distribution method), with the most widely distributed referred to as "basic cable" networks (as opposed to those in higher service tiers, or premium services).  In the U.S., specialty channels also operate as broadcast television networks designed to be carried on digital subchannels of terrestrial stations (which proliferated following the transition from analog broadcasting), which usually focusing on library programming catering to specific themes, genres, or demographics.
The term "specialty channel" has been used most frequently in Canada, having been used as a marketing term by the cable industry for various simultaneous launches of new channels throughout the 1990s. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) term for such a channel is specialty service (or even more explicitly "specialty television programming undertaking"), referring to virtually any non-premium television service which is not carried over the airwaves or otherwise deemed exempt by the CRTC. They are primarily carried, therefore, on cable television and satellite television.
The CRTC previously enforced strict regulations on the types of programming that may be carried by specialty services, employing minimums and restrictions across specific genres on a per-licence basis, and a category system granting exclusive rights to specific categories of channels. These restrictions were imposed to discourage networks from deviating from the programming format which they were licensed to broadcast. Under a deregulation scheme, the CRTC has since replaced these with streamlined, standard terms for most specialty channels (discretionary services), whose only major restrictions are on the broadcast of live sports programming. Contrarily, a service licensed as a mainstream sports network is restricted in their carriage of non-sport programming.
A television channel is a terrestrial frequency or virtual number over which a television station or television network is distributed. For example, in North America, "channel 2" refers to the terrestrial or cable band of 54 to 60 MHz, with carrier frequencies of 55.25 MHz for NTSC analog video (VSB) and 59.75 MHz for analog audio (FM), or 55.31 MHz for digital ATSC (8VSB). Channels may be shared by many different television stations or cable-distributed channels depending on the location and service provider
Category A services were a class of Canadian specialty television channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, must be offered by all digital cable and direct broadcast satellite providers that have the capability to do so.
Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription-based television services, usually provided by multichannel television providers, but also increasingly via digital terrestrial, and streaming television. In the United States, subscription television began in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the form of encrypted analog over-the-air broadcast television which could be decrypted with special equipment. The concept rapidly expanded through the multi-channel transition and into the post-network era. Other parts of the world beyond the United States, such as France and Latin America have also offered encrypted analog terrestrial signals available for subscription.
In cable television, governments apply a must-carry regulation stating that locally licensed television stations must be carried on a cable provider's system.
Movie Central was a Canadian English language Category A premium cable and satellite television channel that was owned by Corus Entertainment. Movie Central was designated to operate west of the Ontario-Manitoba border, including the territories. Although the channel's name implies that it focuses solely on theatrically released motion pictures, Movie Central's programming included original and foreign television series, made-for-cable movies and documentaries.
Sportsnet 360 (SN360) is a Canadian discretionary specialty channel owned by Rogers Media. The channel was launched in 1994 as the licence-exempt service Sportscope, which featured a display of sports news and scores. In 1997, the network was re-launched under Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) licensing as Headline Sports, adding anchored segments to its rolling sports news programming. In 2000, the network gained the ability to air occasional broadcasts of live sporting events, and was re-launched as The Score. In 2012, the network's parent company Score Media announced that it would sell the network to Rogers Communications, which owns the competing Sportsnet family of sports television networks; in 2013, the network was re-branded as Sportsnet 360.
Television in Canada officially began with the sign-on of the nation's first television stations in Montreal and Toronto in 1952. As with most media in Canada, the television industry, and the television programming available in that country, are strongly influenced by media in the United States, perhaps to an extent not seen in any other major industrialized nation. As a result, the government institutes quotas for "Canadian content". Nonetheless, new content is often aimed at a broader North American audience, although the similarities may be less pronounced in the predominantly French-language province of Quebec.
Filipino TV (FTV) is a Canadian exempt Category B Tagalog language specialty channel and is owned by Ethnic Channels Group (ECG). It broadcasts news and public affairs from the Philippines and locally produce Canadian content on a daily basis.
The Israeli Network is a Canadian exempt Category B Hebrew language specialty channel. It is wholly owned by Ethnic Channels Group, with its name used under license from the owners of the Israeli-based TV channel, The Israeli Network.
A multiplex or mux is a grouping of program services as interleaved data packets for broadcast over a network or modulated multiplexed medium. The program services are split out at the receiving end.
Canada is served by various multichannel television services, including cable television systems, two direct-broadcast satellite providers, and various other wireline IPTV and wireless MMDS video providers.
CTV 2 Alberta is a Canadian English language entertainment and former educational television channel in the province of Alberta. Owned by the Bell Media subsidiary of BCE Inc., it operates as a de facto owned-and-operated station of its secondary CTV 2 television system.
TSN2 is a Canadian English language discretionary sports specialty channel that acts as the secondary feed of sports-centred channel The Sports Network (TSN) and owned by CTV Specialty Television Inc. It was launched in its current form on August 29, 2008.
Sportsnet World is a Canadian English language discretionary digital cable and satellite specialty channel owned by Rogers Sports & Media, a subsidiary of Rogers Communications operating as a national sports channel complementing the Sportsnet group of regional sports networks. The channel was launched in August 10, 2007 as a Canadian version of Setanta Sports as a joint venture between UK-based Setanta Sports and Rogers Media. In 2011, Rogers acquired the stake of Setanta relaunching the channel to its current name.
FX is a Canadian English-language discretionary service channel owned as a partnership between Rogers Sports & Media, a division of Rogers Communications, and the FX Networks subsidiary of Walt Disney Television. Based on the U.S. cable network of the same name, FX is devoted primarily to scripted dramas and comedies.
A Category C service is the former term for a Canadian discretionary specialty channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, operates under the conditions of license for "competitive Canadian specialty services operating in the genres of mainstream sports and national news".
A multichannel television service, also known as simply a television provider, is a type of service provider who distributes television programming to its customers for a subscription fee. Subscription television providers distribute television channels that offer different types of programming, typically including local television stations within their market, specialty channels that are distributed solely through multichannel television providers, and pay television services that offer premium content such as feature films and other original programming.
Sportsnet PPV is a Canadian pay-per-view (PPV) service owned by Rogers Communications. It is the PPV service used by Rogers Cable, Cogeco Cable and Source Cable for offering out-of-market sports packages and occasionally other special events. Since October 1, 2014, Rogers and Source have also used Sportsnet PPV as their main general-interest pay-per-view provider, replacing Viewers Choice which shut down the previous evening. The service is co-branded with Rogers' sports channel Sportsnet.
A 9(1)(h) order is an order issued by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of Canada's Broadcasting Act. It requires that a particular Canadian television channel be distributed by all (or a particular subset of) cable, satellite, IPTV, or similar subscription-based television service providers in Canada. In most (but not all) cases, the order requires that the channel be included in the analogue and/or digital basic service, making it available to all subscribers of that TV service provider. A channel subject to such an order, particularly those subject to mandatory carriage on the basic service, is sometimes known as an 9(1)(h) service.
A discretionary service is a Canadian specialty channel which, as defined by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, may be carried optionally by all subscription television providers. It replaces the previous category A, category B, category C, and premium classifications.