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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A specialty channel (or speciality channel) is a television channel which consists of programming focused on a single type or targeted at a specific demographic.

The number of specialty channels has greatly increased during the 1990s and 2000s while the previously common concept 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.

Types of specialty services may include, but by no means are limited to:

(Note: These are not necessarily industry-accepted terms for these types of services)

Some specialty channels may not be free-to-air and/or may not be available through conventional broadcast television. Pay TV providers in particular often produce own specialty channels exclusively for their own network.

Canadian specialty channels

The term "specialty channel" has been used most frequently in Canada, due to its use as a marketing term by the cable industry in relation to the various channel launches of 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.

All such services are specifically limited in regard to the types, and often the amount of said types, of programming that can be carried. For instance, TSN can only air sports or sports-related programming, while Bravo! cannot air any sports. This differs from the U.S., where several cable/satellite services such as USA Network or Turner Network Television regularly air programs from nearly all categories, and where there are no restrictions on "specialty" services such as MSNBC from airing sports, as that particular service has on occasion.

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