Starfish Television Network II

So What’s the Catch?

Last Wednesday I posted on the Starfish Television Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity and a television network devoted to airing TV programming that supports the missions of other nonprofits.

I also used the word ‘free.’ As in, “Starfish will air your broadcast-quality nonprofit television programming for free.”

Nothing worthwhile is free, I hear the skeptics say.

The skeptics are half right.

First of all, the Starfish Television Network certainly has expenses. For the time being, those expenses are being covered by a generous philanthropist. So, while airing the programming has a cost, for now the cost is covered.

However, in time that money will be spent. And Starfish will have to have in place new sources of revenue or it will fail. The Starfish Television Network’s funding model is patterned after that of PBS. Which is to say there will be fundraising, corporate sponsorships, underwriting, perhaps memberships, and the like.

In time there may be a fee associated with airing programs on Starfish in accordance with FCC rules. But for now…while Starfish proves its concept, gets its signal on the bird, and shakes out its operational dust… airing your nonprofit’s TV programming is free.

And, the fact is, if Starfish doesn’t provide real value to nonprofits then the market won’t bear any fee. That is, if nonprofits find no value in broadcasting on Starfish then Starfish ought to fail.

OK, you say, but surely Starfish won’t be airing to a very large audience, right?

That depends on how you define ‘very large.’ Beginning March 28, Starfish will be broadcast as part of the Dish 1000 high-definition package. Dish 1000 is what most new subscribers receive. Dish 1000 has approximately 1.5 to 2 million subscribers.

A few weeks after the March 28 launch date, Starfish will also begin simulcasting its signal from its website.

So, it’s nothing like the number of people who get The Disney Channel or ESPN. But in my view it’s 1.5 to 2 million more than most nonprofits can send TV programming to now.

The Starfish Television Network is a television network with a mission. And that mission is to give your nonprofit a platform to tell its stories.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am presently doing work for the Starfish Television Network.