Is Your FAST Channel Worth Launching?
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Learn more about FAST channels and OTT at Streaming Media East Connect 2021.
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Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: So, if you were launching a FAST channel right now, what sort of criteria do you think you would have to meet in order to get to the point where a FAST channel was launch-worthy, so to speak?
Andrew Tint: I would think there are two things. One, you'd have to focus on the device relationships. That market in itself is so fragmented with the Roku, Amazon, Samsung, Vizio, and Sony, and it's going to be really hard to get marketshare when you are on only one or two devices. So that that's gotta be one of the most important things. And the second is, what's different, what's niche? Look at some of these apps today. Like we noted, there are the Samsung Pluses, and the Plutos, and the Xumos, and Tubi, and they have a lot of content, and they share a lot of content too, which is important. If you're a small app, if you're just getting what they're getting, you're not really going to differentiate. No one's going to discover you. And so what can you do that's different? What can you do that's unique? Like Kidoodle with just kids' programs, or BritBox with British dramas in the U.S. Those kinds of things have a higher potential, even though they have a smaller audience, because you can build that sort of brand identity and people will go to you for that type of content instead of just Googling, "Where can I find Degrassi episodes?"
Chris Yates: Not to give away how we assess channels here at Redbox too deeply, but I think all those things make a ton of sense from Andrew. Some things that I think are really important--obviously, uniqueness is important, but it has to be more than just stitching together a bunch of digital shorts. There are some companies that do a really great job of that, and they're very thoughtful, curated. Jukin Media is a really successful business in that space. And they almost have programming as a consequence of their brands like FailArmy or People Are Awesome. But they also curate it really, really well.
I think we've already moved past that stage of, "Find, find YouTube category that does well, license a bunch of content, aggregate it, and make it like the uber-gaming channel for FAST channels." I mean, let's face it--the kids that watch that programming are watching it on YouTube. You're not really gonna migrate those folks to a lot of these platforms. Maybe there are standouts that you weren't expecting that maybe have a broader audience, but you have to think about what kind of programming can have someone one stop in a channel-flip environment where you're one click away from a different channel, but then separately have programming that's meaningful enough that can last for a session between 20 minutes and an hour. And anytime you you're creating what I would call "opportunities to change channel," you're actually losing some of the momentum that you might be gaining. Digital shorts is one of those areas that ... More and more data that we see tells us that it's less about that, and more about longform television and film in the longterm.
With Tubi projecting $1 billion in revenue in 2021, smart TVs taking center stage, and the number and reach of FAST (Free Ad-Supported TV) channels growing rapidly, FAST's potential for engaging and drawing viewers at broadcast-like levels seems more likely than ever, predicts Xumo's Anthony Layser.
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