Premium television is the Robloxian term for both services within the Robloxian television industry which offer additional programming choices than what is generally offered "directly" (through a service such as Livestream, for example), and the channels which populate these services. This is generally the Robloxian television equivalent of cable and satellite channels and their services in real life.
The idea of premium television had generally been an untouched territory in Robloxia, until late November 2012, when BenzBot began working with the idea as a way to expand the offerings of Robloxian television. The development of Robloxia's first-ever premium television service would take over two years, and roTV, the project of the Roblox Television Networks Group, would launch its first version on February 20, 2015. However, this first version proved buggy, and this would not be corrected until August 2015. The launch of roTV spurred a race for other providers to launch more services, leading to the creation of 3view (now Vivo) by TheMagRBLX in August 2015, Hexahedron Direct by Hexahedron Media Networks and Dipper Fresh Communications in September 2015, and most recently, Amicable by Lava Lamp Entertainment in October 2016. The launches of these services splintered the premium television market and created ample competition for roTV.
Specifically, a number of early premium television channels were created to add value to each service prior to their respective launches, and due to the fact that no actual pricing can currently be charged by a Robloxian premium television service, the services must compete for viewership on the basis of channel selection, quality, and the notion of exclusivity.
Robloxian premium television services are generally offered by means of a website, where viewers can watch all of the channels that service offers. Each Robloxian television service consists of a mixture of both free-to-air channels and newer premium services which may or may not be exclusive to the platform. Initially, few channels carried their programming on more than one service, thus it was necessary to use more than one premium television service to view all of the programming every Robloxian television channel offers. However, this began to change with the launch of "premium" and "basic premium" services (such as, for example, Blox and Viva Roblox) in early 2017. Currently, roTV, Amicable, and BBS Player are the three major Robloxian premium television services.
Carriage agreements for channels are usually agreed upon between the company broadcasting a channel or channels in question and the owner or operator of the premium television service, as with real-life services of this type. Sometimes multiple channels are negotiated upon at once; for example if a company announces a number of new channels or if a provider is looking to add newer channels from an existing company to their platform which were not available at the time of the initial agreement.
Initially, each service became affiliated with a certain television company or set companies, which then created premium channels as exclusives to that respective platform. As the market for multi-provider "premium" and "basic premium" channels developed, these companies extended their allegiances to favor their respective early platforms when launching new services or when jockeying for positions when channel reshuffles occur. For roTV, this applies to the primary members of the RTNG, except Lava Lamp Entertainment, which prefers its service Amicable; Hexahedron Media Networks has done this for its own Hexahedron Direct service, and TheMagRBLX, while not specifically affiliating with any company for channels, used mainly HMN channels and services from XTV Communications for 3view, the forerunner to Vivo. (TheMagRBLX, despite owning Vivo, does not necessarily give preference to Vivo when launching new channels through his company Bloxia, in contrast to other similarly-integrated companies.) BBN and BBN News, both owned by buddbudd222, were initially the only two channels available on all major platforms early on; however, as his company expanded, he began to give preference to his BBS Player when launching new channels.
The number of channels offered on each premium television service varies, both from provider to provider and over time; as new channels launch, old channels close, or when channel carriage disputes arise, these problems can affect the availability of Robloxian television channels on premium services.
Types of channels Edit
For clarity and simplicity, the RTNG has defined three types of channels, mainly for its roTV service, but they can also be applied in a general manner to all Robloxian television channels.
Free-to-air channels are channels which are available outside of the premium television system (such as Livestream or their networks' respective websites). When referring to channels which existed prior to the development of Robloxian premium television in 2012, they may sometimes be called "legacy" channels. Channels which fall under this category include rTV, Blox News Channel, Rnetwork and RN. These channels are generally available freely to any provider, given a carriage agreement is made. Very few new free-to-air channels have been launched since the creation of the premium system, as it is more enticing for television companies to launch a new premium channel, however, higher-profile launches have included Harmony and DogeTV under rTV Networks ownership.
Premium channels are channels solely available through the premium television system, through a premium television service. Such channels include Crime + Mystery, Blox, and MixTV. In many cases, due to the affiliations mentioned above, many premium channels launched earlier in premium television's lifespan are also exclusive to a certain platform; however, the two terms are not the same thing, especially as the rise of "premium" and "basic premium" channels have powered more of the area's growth recently.
In order to add value to their respective services, all of the major premium television services have created or acquired channels which they have the exclusive rights to carry. These are generically dubbed "platform-exclusive" services. Channels created or used in this manner include rTV Max and Motion. Many new channels launched initially on roTV especially were made exclusives to that platform in a bid for more high-quality content, and roTV remains the leader in the number of channels that are exclusive to its platform.
Generally, channels made prior to the start of the premium television system have been "grandfathered" in as free-to-air channels, due to the fact that that was the only method of distribution for these channels at the time. Channels made during the development of premium television (and since) were not defined as free-to-air or premium automatically, and have had to specify whether they are available freely or solely through one or more of the premium television services. BBN and BBN News have made the most use of their grandfathered status; using it to be available through Livestream and all three of the premium television platforms.
Programming on premium television channels is generally more specialist or niche than a free-to-air counterpart, as channels broadcast through premium services are often aiming for a specific demographic or air a specific type of programming. Premium channels may also be an extension or variation of an existing free-to-air or premium channel, such as Viva Roblox and Viva2 or Blox and Blox Flickz.
There are no specific differences between what programming is allowed on a premium channel versus a free-to-air channel in Robloxian television, contrary to the real-life analog where controls are less strict on premium channels. In Robloxian television, free-to-air and premium channels are subject to the same exact rules and have the same exact freedoms in scheduling and broadcasting. Any differences as to what would be "allowed" are solely the decision of the broadcaster, and would be influenced by the aforementioned real-life limitations as to such content.