It’s now been over 10 years since the first global Red Nation Television Network was established – it’s the first and arguably the only American Indian and Indigenous Television station in existence today.
When it was first established in 2006 many questioned whether there would be adequate demand, however that theory seems to have been completely disproved. It took only five years until 2011 for RNTV to reach 10 million users and it is watched in an estimated 37 countries.
The exact reach is difficult to estimate as many people access online media sites through residential VPN services like this one which are used to mask your real location. These are used to bypass region blocks, which RNTV doesn’t employ for the most part but it still can hide the spread of the TV channel.
There is no doubt that this channel is a pioneer for a media channel focused on native content and that it has been a huge success. Part of the success is in part to being launched properly with a professionalism often lacking in some similar projects in the past. As of today Red Nation TV delivers 24/7 high definition broadcasts online. there’s no lack of variety either with original shows, televisions series, feature films and even some children’s based programmes. There is little like it for reaching am American Indian audience and it forms a center for identity particularly for those Native Americans who live apart from their families and native communities.
The last few years have seen the channel attempt to expand even more, this needs extra finance obviously. Creating original content is extremely expensive so it was decided that a subscription service would help fund this work and was established in 2014. This helps ensure that the channel continues to provide up to date content rather than simply becoming a digital archive.
It’s certainly refreshing that the channel evades the usual licensing issues that prevent it becoming a globally accessible channel. In many ways RNTV is much more international than something like Hulu which is only accessible from the USA. Indeed you can’t even watch Native American content on some allegedly global media sites unless you use some sort of IP changing like in this article – Using a Proxy for Netflix.
The diversification of the content on the channel is the key to it’s long term survival. No one will pay to watch endless historical content although there is obviously a place for this on a Native American Channel, the tv series though is keen to expand it’s live broadcasts and covering ‘real life’ events such as festivals, award shows, music videos and fashion shows.