Save your FREE seat for Streaming Media Connect this August. Register Now!

What Is FAST 2.0?

Ad-supported streaming tiers have been on the rise lately, and more users than ever are now watching Free Ad-Supported Television (FAST) channels in response to increasing economic pressures and the so-called “subscription fatigue” of managing too many paid OTT options. With many new FAST channels launched, what’s now emerging is “FAST 2.0.” How will it differ from the current FAST models, and is it related to Web3? Jonathon Barbato, Co-CEO, Best Ever Channels, discusses this topic with Matthew Durgin, Sr. Director, North American Innovation and Development Team, LG, and Greg Barnard, Director, Content Acquisition, Vizio.

Barbato asks Durgin, “What do you think FAST 2.0 will be about? What are we going to see different in the content, and what technology are we going to introduce?”

Durgin says that exclusive and original programming may define FAST 2.0, and LG is working directly with partners to make this happen. “Last year LG launched a special relationship with the NCAA, where we have an NCAA Channel,” he says. “And then this year, we've launched an exclusive channel with David Chang, who's a world-renowned chef and owner of the majordomo and Momofuku restaurants. He does an exclusive, not just a cooking show, but cooking a channel for LG channels. And so you know, there's a number of ways that this can go into any category. But I think one of the things that you'll see now is a dedication from the FAST companies to getting exclusive, original, and differentiated content out there to keep building an audience.”

Barbato asks Greg Barnard of Vizio for his thoughts on FAST 2.0. Barnard emphasizes that branded or sponsor-led programming is another important potential aspect of FAST 2.0, along with ease of discoverability in UX. With branded programming, he says, “That's where we are finding a lot of opportunity to source and secure exclusive content. But it is an expensive venture as well, right? If you're producing content and you have an audience that hasn't yet engaged on a regular basis, and then that becomes a bit of a cost center for you, it becomes very difficult to monetize over time. And that's why scale is really important, I think, and also by leveraging brands as a part of this opportunity is really critical as well.”

Regarding ease of programming discoverability, Barnard says of Vizio, “We've done that, right? We have a platform [and a] home screen that is very valuable.” This is crucial for immediately engaging and retaining viewers. “You can leverage that opportunity by bringing in sponsorships brands to that,” he says. “And that is a really unique and interesting opportunity in this space for how we monetize this space as we continue to grow over time. 2.0 is going to include exclusives and originals…I think that is an engagement tool, but a retention tool is always going to be having great content, having a great experience and great product that keeps people there day after day after day. It's getting better content and bigger brands, and we're in the business of doing that as well.”

Barnard stresses that thinking big is the way to go for anyone working on the new FAST 2.0 model. “It's been reported in the market -- we can believe it or not -- that 50% of Netflix content is original, but 75% of their viewing is catalog, stuff people know and love that they can put on and let it run. And we're in the business of selling ads, which means we need people to watch today, tomorrow, next month, and next year all the time. And that's why I say 2.0 is a continued enhancement on that product. It's not just put it up and let it run. We actually have to build the new TBS, TNT, USA, and FX of this new world, right? And those are the opportunities.

Learn more about FAST 2.0 at Streaming Media East 2023.

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

How Premium Brands Are Leveraging FAST

As with any other entertainment streaming genre, the engine driving FAST is the monetization of content, and as with large-scale live events in particular, FAST thrives on pairing brands with properties and serving those brands effectively. In this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023, Revry co-founder Damian Pelliccione and Chris Pfaff of Chris Pfaff Tech Media discuss how Revry works with brands and the sort of brand identification with key Revry programming that enables the industry's leading LGBTQ+ programming destination to thrive and grow.

Why FAST Took Off in 2020

Why did Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST) take off in such a significant way in 2020? LG's Senior Director of North American Innovation and Development Team, Matthew Durgin, discusses this topic with VP Marketing for Plex Scott Hancock and media cartographer Evan Shapiro in this clip from their Streaming Media East 2023 panel.

Fuse Media's Patrick Courtney Talks FAST Brand Verticalization and UX

Streaming Media's Tim Siglin sits down with Patrick Courtney of Fuse to discuss FAST brand verticalization and UX in this exclusive interview from Streaming Media East 2023.

How to Launch a FAST Channel

Free ad-supported television (FAST) has been a rapidly rising element of the streaming industry since the beginning of the pandemic. This article covers the best practices for launching a FAST channel and how to handle the challenges faced, including insights from key industry leaders such as Jonathon Barbato of Best Ever Channels, DeShuna Spencer of kweliTV, and Paul Kontonis of Revry.

TeleUP's Gustavo de Medeiros Talks Digital Rights and Rural Streaming Delivery

Tim Siglin of Help Me Stream Research Foundation and Contributing Editor of Streaming Media Magazine sits down for a talk with Gustavo Neiva de Medeiros, the President of TeleUP, to discuss digital rights and rural streaming delivery in this interview from Streaming Media East 2023.

How to Ease OTT Consumers Into Behind-the-Paywall Content

Is local news the ultimate gateway drug for streaming TV services like NBCUniversal's Peacock, as they try to attract customers to their premium paid content offerings? Chicken Soup for the Soul's Philippe Guelton discusses this topic with ESHAP CEO Evan Shapiro in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Live Content Discoverability, Reliability, and FAST 2.0

How will consumers find content in the approaching FAST 2.0 era, and how will FAST providers maintain QoE with high-reliability performance as the platforms and their reach continue to grow? Fandango's Rema Morgan-Aluko, Zixi's Kevin Parks, and Best Ever Channels' Jonathon Barbato discuss the technical challenges Free Ad-Supported Television will face in the coming years and how to meet them in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Talking the Future of FAST at NAB 2023

A session on The Business of FAST: The Challenges in Monetization, Market Saturation and Viewer Engagement in the Streaming Summit at NAB 2023 brought together panelists from Brightcove, Gusto TV, Plex, Samsung TV Plus, SlingTV, and Vevo to discuss the surging FAST segment of the streaming market and strategic approaches to maximizing revenues and enhancing discoverability and personalization as more viewers tune in and new channels increasingly glut the market.

Is Too Much Choice Making OTT UX Unmanageable?

How much choice is too much choice for OTT media and entertainment consumers? Is content and channel overwhelm ruining the user experiences for OTT audiences who just want to find something to watch? And is more bundling the solution? Find out what Media Cartographer Evan Shapiro and Applicaster Co-founder Jonathan Laor have to say on the subject in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Amagi's Brian Ring Talks FAST, CTV, and the State of Streaming

Amagi Senior Director, News & Sports Solutions Brian Ring discusses the ongoing growth of Free Ad-Supported Television with Streaming Media's Tim Siglin in this interview at Streaming Media West 2022.

Best Ever Channels' Jonathon Barbato Talks FAST Channel Launch Best Practices

Best Ever Channels Co-CEO Jonathon Barbato discusses effective strategies for launching Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV channels in this interview with Streaming Media's Tim Siglin at Streaming Media West 2022.

WiseDV's Vassil Lefterov Talks FAST 2.0

WiseDV VP Business Development Vassil Lefterov discusses the evolution of Free Ad-Supported Television (FAST) and how WiseDV's app is serving that market in this interview with Streaming Media's Tim Siglin at Streaming Media West 2022.

How to Improve UX for FAST and OTT

What are the best ways to improve the OTT user experience, especially for FAST platforms? Four industry experts weigh in on specific areas that could use improvement and streamlining in order to improve the overall UX for OTT subscribers with both targeted advertising and programming.