Does popular, quality video content that’s supported by ad revenue and doesn’t require a commitment in the form of a monthly subscription sound too good to be true? It’s what free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) is all about.
If you’re serious about distributing video content, you need to understand what a FAST channel is and its benefits. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with this blog post. Be sure to check out our article, FAST Channels: The Complete Guide for 2023 for a more in-depth look into the ins and outs of FAST channels.
A FAST channel is a place where people can consume video content—usually through linear or on-demand programming—without paying a recurring subscription fee, like with services such as Netflix.
FAST channels can be viewed on connected TVs (CTVs) and mobile devices, making them extremely convenient.
FAST channels have become immensely popular in recent years, mainly because they offer free, quality content people would normally consume via a more traditional TV service. On-demand offerings have popular TV series and movies, while linear programming contains a mix of video content.
Platforms offering FAST channels include The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, IMDb TV, Vudu, Samsung TV Plus, Xumo, and Tubi.
With FAST channels, it’s important to understand the difference between platform agnostic and platform exclusive. The former means content is available across several platforms, while the latter restricts content to just one platform.
You might be thinking FAST and ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD), like YouTube, are one and the same, but they’re not. While similar, the big difference is that FAST channels feature live, scheduled TV content in addition to on-demand video.
The reason FAST channels are so important for content distributors is because of their popularity. Consumers tend to like a mix of programming and content but don’t want the burden of numerous monthly subscriptions hanging over their heads—the cost of which can soon add up.
FAST channels provide a way for distributors to create customized content and build large user bases relatively quickly. Moreover, as distributors already have subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) and AVOD content, they can swiftly get a FAST channel up and running with minimal cost.
By leveraging existing video libraries, content distributors can create a following, then engage that following with tailored, premium content.
Content consumers like the idea of SVOD services because they offer quality content without ads. However, some individuals don’t want to be tied to a subscription. With FAST channels, users get the best of both worlds on one platform.
For many consumers, FAST channels are a direct alternative to traditional linear TV, which is why FAST channel adoption is witnessing significant growth and long session times.
It turns out that viewers like the linear TV model because it enables them to tune in to a live program that’s been curated for them without having to pay for it.
If you’re a content distributor, getting your first FAST channel up and running might seem like a tricky task at first. The good news is that you don’t need to go it alone.
If you want to capitalize on this emerging market, download our white paper, Into the FAST Lane: 5 Essential Tactics for Starting a FAST Channel.