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Template:TOCRight The geographical usage of television varies around the world with a number of different transmission standards in use and differing approaches by government in relation to ownership and programme content.

African networks and stations

See also: List of television stations in Africa

Despite being the most economically advanced country on the continent, South Africa did not introduce TV until 1976, owing to opposition from the apartheid regime. Nigeria was one of the first countries in Africa to introduce television, in 1959, followed by Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in 1961, while Zanzibar was the first in Africa to introduce colour television, in 1973. (Tanzania itself did not introduce television until 1994). The main satellite TV providers are the South African Multichoice DStv service, and the predominantly French language Canal Horizons, owned by France's Canal Plus.

Asian networks and stations

In Asia, television has traditionally been state-controlled, although the number of private stations is increasing, as is competition from satellite and cable television. Japan's NHK is a non-commercial network similar to the BBC, funded by a television license fee, and has more editorial independence over news and current affairs than broadcasters like India's state-run Doordarshan or China's China Central Television (CCTV). In Malaysia, television was dominated by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), a government-owned agency, from 1963 until 1984. From 1984, however, private television stations started emerging, and as of March 2009, there are 4 private stations and 2 government-owned ones in the country. Free-to-air television in Singapore is currently monopolised by MediaCorp, with 8 channels broadcast there.

From 2000 onwards, India also encouraged new private stations. Star TV, which is based in Hong Kong, has expanded to other areas in Asia recently. The number of private broadcasters are indeed increasing in some countries (2004) for example: Indonesia's 10 private national stations compared to only 1 in 1989.

Satellite and cable television is relatively new in Asia, but is a growing industry.

Middle East networks and stations

Similarly in the Middle East, television has been heavily state-controlled, with considerable censorship of both news coverage and entertainment, particularly that imported from the West. This control of the medium has been eroded by the increasing availability of satellite TV, and the number of satellite channels in Arabic is second only to the number of satellite channels in English, the best known of which being the Qatar-based news service Al Jazeera.

Australasian networks and stations

Australian networks and stations

Main article: Television in Australia

Australian television began in 1956, just in time for the Melbourne Olympics. Australia has three nationwide metropolitan commercial networks (Seven, Nine and Ten) as well as the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), a government owned, commercial free network; and SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) a commercial-supported, multi-lingual, government-owned station. The Australian Broadcasting Authority has also issued licenses to community groups to establish "community television stations" in most capital cities on the UHF Ch 31 frequency (Channel 31). In regional and rural areas, numerous commercial stations are affiliated with one of the three metropolitan networks, and carry programming generally indistinguishable from their city cousins.

New Zealand networks and stations

Main article: Television in New Zealand

Through a Crown Entity named Television New Zealand (TVNZ), the New Zealand government owns two television networks TV ONE and TV2. Although both networks are required to screen advertisements to pay for their operation, the One network receives additional funding to provide local content under a government broadcasting charter. A purely commercial network, TV3 is owned by CanWest, a Canadian media company, and also operate a music channel, C4. Another network called Prime Television is a subsidiary of pay television company, SKY Network Television, and carries programming from a number of sources including Austraslia's Nine Network. SKY Network Television operates a UHF terrestrial and digital satellite TV service. The New Zealand government also funds the controversial Māori Television Service with the aim of putting Māori language and culture on New Zealand television screens. This service is delivered via Sky's UHF and satellite services. Additionally there are a range of low-power UHF regional television channels operating independently throughout the country.

European networks and stations

National European networks

In much of Europe, television broadcasting has historically been state dominated, rather than commercially organised, although commercial stations have grown in number recently.

In most countries, the public broadcasters were the only television services available until the 1980s. These were usually funded by the state or a television license, but many countries have eventually adopted advertising in the public channels.

The United Kingdom was an early adopter of private television, launching the ITV network in 1955. Italy followed in the 1970s. Most countries got commercial broadcasters in the 1980s and 1990s, either by allowing private broadcasters to broadcast terrestrially or from broadcasters located in other countries. Some countries made room for private television by closing down or selling one of the state channels.

Most countries had around two-six national broadcasters in the days of analogue television. Digital television has however allowed the number of terrestrial channels to multiply. Cable and satellite are also contributing to the increased number of channels, with hundreds of channels available to those willing to pay for it.

Every country has a public broadcaster and about one-four dominating commercial broadcasters (excluding smaller countries where local commercials broadcasters haven't been profitable), which are listed in the table below.

Country Leading broadcasters
Public Private
Template:Country data Albania RTSh Top Channel, Klan
Template:Country flagcountry2 ORF ATV, Puls 4, Austria 9 TV
Template:Country data Belarus BRTC
Template:Country data Belgium VRT, RTBF SBS, VMMa, RTL TVI
Template:Country data Bosnia and Herzegovina BHRT
Template:Country data Bulgaria BNT bTV, Nova Television
Template:Country data Croatia HRT RTL, Nova TV
Template:Country data Czech Republic CT TV Nova, TV Prima
Template:Country data Denmark DR, TV2 MTG, SBS
Template:Country data Estonia ETV Kanal 2, TV3
Template:Country data Finland YLE MTV3, Nelonen
Template:Country data France France Télévisions TF1, M6
Template:Country data Germany ARD, ZDF RTL, ProSiebenSat.1
Template:Country data Greece ERT ANT1, Mega
Template:Country data Hungary MT TV2, RTL Klub
Template:Country data Iceland Sjónvarpið Stöð 2
Template:Country data Republic of Ireland RTÉ TV3
Template:Country data Italy RAI Mediaset
Template:Country data Kosovo RTK RTV21, KTV
Template:Country data Latvia LTV LNT, TV3
Template:Country data Lithuania LRT LNK, TV3
Template:Country data Luxembourg RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg
Template:Country data Macedonia MRT
Template:Country data Malta PBS
Template:Country data Moldova TRM
Template:Country data Montenegro TVCG
Template:Country data Netherlands NPO RTL Nederland, SBS
Template:Country data Norway NRK TV2, MTG, SBS
Template:Country data Poland TVP TVN, Polsat
Template:Country data Portugal RTP SIC, TVI
Template:Country data Romania TVR Pro TV, Antena 1
Template:Country data Russia Channel One
Template:Country data Serbia RTS
Template:Country data Slovakia STV Markíza, Joj TV
Template:Country data Slovenia RTV Slovenija POP, A, info
Template:Country data Spain TVE, FORTA Telecinco, Antena 3, Cuatro, La Sexta
Template:Country data Sweden SVT TV4, MTG, SBS
Template:Country data Switzerland TSR, TSI, SF
Template:Country data Turkey TRT
Template:Country data Ukraine UT-1 1+1, Inter
Template:Country flagcountry2 BBC ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky

The largest commercial European broadcaster is the Luxembourg-based RTL Group. Other media groups controlling European television broadcasters are ProSiebenSat.1 Media, News Corporation, Central European Media Enterprises and Modern Times Group.

Europe-wide networks

As Europe is a linguistical and culturally varied continent, the dominating broadcasters are either national or are operating in countries that share a language. Pan-European broadcasters exist, but they tend to adapt their content for different markets by providing different audio streams or completely separate channels with the same name. Channels available to all of Europe include Euronews and Eurosport.

Latin American networks and stations

Television has reached a great expansion in all the Latin American scope. Currently, there exist more than 1,500 television stations in all Latin America, according to the number of apparatuses by homes (more than 60 million), of more than two hundred million people. Because of the financial and political troubles that occurred between the mid-1970s and the early 1990s, television networks in some countries of this region had a development more irregular than the North American and European networks. In countries like Mexico or Brazil, one or two networks claim almost all the audience. In other countries like Colombia or Chile, television broadcasting has historically been public-broadcast dominated until the 1990s. In countries like Nicaragua or Peru, television had a troubled history. The largest commercial television groups are Mexico-based Televisa, Brazil-based Globo and Canada-based Canwest Latin American Group.

North American networks and stations

Canadian networks and stations

Main article: Television in Canada

In Canada, there are a number of national networks, including three main networks for English Canada. One, CBC Television, is owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a government-funded Crown corporation. The other two, CTV and Global, are privately run. The private networks usually use most of their primetime hours to rebroadcast U.S. shows, while the CBC airs more Canadian programming. Private systems — essentially mini-networks whose stations have a somewhat enhanced local focus and which do not reach all of Canada — include Citytv, E! and A-Channel.

In French Canada, particularly Quebec, the main networks are the CBC-owned Télévision de Radio-Canada, and private networks TVA and TQS. These networks tend to air substantially more domestic programming in primetime than their English counterparts. There are also the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, multiethnic broadcaster Omni Television, provincial educational networks, and a limited number of niche-interest or independent stations. Radio-Canada broadcasts across Canada, while TVA and TQS only broadcast terrestrial signals in Quebec and APTN only broadcasts terrestrially in the territories. TVA and APTN, however, are available on cable in all Canadian markets. TQS does not have national cable carriage rights, although it is available in some markets outside of Quebec with larger francophone communities.

Additional premium television or specialty channels are also available in both languages through cable and satellite television. Notable examples include CBC Newsworld, TSN, MuchMusic, Showcase, and The Movie Network.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) requires all television services in Canada to broadcast a minimum percentage of Canadian content, both during the day and during primetime.

United States networks and stations

Main article: Television in the United States

In the U.S., the three traditional commercial television networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) provide prime-time programs for their affiliate stations to air from 8pm–11pm Monday-Saturday and 7pm–11pm on Sunday. (7pm to 10pm, 6pm to 10pm respectively in the Central and Mountain time zones). Most stations procure other programming, often syndicated, off prime time. The FOX Network does not provide programming for the last hour of prime time; as a result, many FOX affiliates air a local news program at that time. Three newer broadcasting networks, The CW, ION Television, and MyNetworkTV also do not provide the same amount of network programming as so-called traditional networks. Sinclair Broadcast Group operates the largest network of local television stations, reaching about 24% of U.S. households. Trinity Broadcast Network, or TBN, runs the world's largest Christian television network, and owns twenty-three U.S. full-power television stations as well as 252 low-power stations serving smaller cities and rural areas. PBS is the U.S.'s public broadcaster.

Over the past thirty years, cable and satellite television have come to provide most homes with dozens or even hundreds of television services. Cable television was originally created to allow residents of weak-signal areas to benefit from a large, well-located common antenna. In the 1970s, Premium Services such as HBO, Showtime, and The Movie Channel used satellites to deliver movies to cable head-ends, who would re-distribute it to customers for an added charge. During the same period, it has seen the emergence of numerous specialty cable networks, such as CBN (now ABC Family), CNN, ESPN (sports), Lifetime (women's programming), The Learning Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon (children's shows), VH-1, The Weather Channel, and others. The advent of digital compression technology in the 1990s, along with the rapidly growing popularity of direct-to-home satellite television allowed for content providers to pack more channels into a single satellite slot, and a number of new networks, especially those fulfilling certain niches, aimed at digital cable and satellite systems were established.

See also