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How FAST Strategy Is Changing as the Ecosystem Matures

As we move well into the era of FAST 2.0, will the strategies that brought FAST success in its early days still pay off and ensure continued growth? Is it time for FAST pioneers to re-innovate? And what can the success of primetime YouTube channels teach FAST brands about evolving their strategic roadmap in a mature, less Wild West-like FAST ecosystem? Evan Shapiro, CEO, ESHAP, discusses these questions with Cameron Saless, Chief Business Officer, Trusted Media Brands, Chris Knight, President & CEO, Gusto Worldwide Media, and Evan Bregman, General Manager, Streaming, Tastemade in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Shapiro mentions that Trusted Media Brands were innovators and early movers in FAST. He asks Saless, “How are you emulating that early mover advantage? How are you emulating that innovation cycle in your business now that you see the changing nature of the ecosystem take hold?”

Saless emphasizes that building brand equity is essential for any media business due to the abundance of choices. “We're not just taking the content that we have in these different platforms and slapping it on FAST,” he says. “We built out a team that comes from television. We build television shows and formats that are talent-driven with high production value. So you have to create a different experience there, and then you have to figure out how to pay for all this. And part of that is the packaging. We're doing really big deals with folks like Toyota and KitchenAid where we're helping them reach audiences in various ways, and going forward, we want to lean into that.”

Chris Knight of Gusto TV says, “We're working on four different co-productions with four different platforms.”

Shapiro says, “So, just to clarify, you're making different shows for distribution partners that would air on your channels and their platforms?”

“If there's a show that resonates with a particular platform partner, we co-produce it,” Knight says. “We split the costs.” This further underscores the importance of using co-productions with different platforms to differentiate themselves and generate income.

Evan Bregman of Tastemade talks about the evolving concepts of “channels,” which now include branded pages with free and paywall content that can be consumed in various ways. “If you want to see the future of what a channel looks like,” he says, “I highly recommend everyone spend some time looking at those YouTube channels that have primetime channels in them. The NFL is obviously the big one. There are many others, including Tastemade, that have a primetime channel on there. This is what a channel will look like in the future. It is a branded page with free and paywall content. It has a short-form and mid-form content that's distributed in various different ways. It's merchandised in such a way as to lead you into a paid experience clearly, but you can consume that content whichever way you want. The key to that, like Cameron [Saless] was saying, is you are familiar with the brand and coming there to consume from that brand.”

Watch full sessions from Streaming Media Connect November 2023. Streaming Media Connect 2024 is also currently running through February 22. Register here. We'll be back in person for Streaming Media NYC on May 20-22, 2024. More details here.

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