The Rise of FAST Channels and Their Impact on the Future of Television


In recent years, a new type of streaming television service has emerged that offers a different viewing experience from traditional on-demand streaming platforms. These services are FAST channels, which are free, ad-supported television played in a linear format with a guide, similar to cable or satellite layout guide. Here we delve into their rising popularity and what opportunities they present.

The Popularity of FAST Channels

2020 was the year that FAST channels really took off, with the trend continuing strong since. The popularity of these channels is due to a variety of factors, including the increasing availability of high-speed internet, the growth of connected TV devices, and the rise of cord-cutting as a trend among consumers who are looking for more affordable and flexible alternatives to traditional pay-TV services.

The Viewer Experience of FAST Channels

FAST channels provide a viewing experience that combines the comfort of traditional broadcast with the convenience and flexibility of streaming. Content is presented in channels, similar to traditional TV, where viewers have no control over programming. This is different from traditional subscription streaming, where viewers actively find and select a program from a streaming platform.

One of the most significant advantages of FAST channels is that they are free, with viewers willing to sit through ads. The content libraries of FAST channels offer a range of genres and categories, from news and sports to movies and TV shows.  

The Impact of FAST Channels on the Future of Television

The rise of FAST channels is significant because it challenges the traditional subscription-based streaming model. According to industry conversations and developments, many streaming platforms are likely to abandon the subscription model in favor of FAST channels, driving revenue on existing content libraries. The FAST channel model provides opportunities for content providers and platforms, but also challenges. Platforms are once again having to plan programming rather than letting consumers simply select on demand. It also assumes that consumers will continue to have an appetite for whatever content is programmed. It's important to remember that on-demand options surged for a reason.

The rise of FAST channels is a response to changing consumer viewing habits as streaming options and models have advanced. With the availability of free content via ad exposure, content providers are getting new revenue channels, and platforms are getting more content to engage users. FilmTrack and other content management platforms will play an increasingly important role in the ecosystem, helping content owners manage and monetize their assets across multiple channels, including FAST channels. As the rise of new options like FAST channels continues to offer consumers exactly what they want, the streaming landscape will undoubtedly continue to evolve.

FilmTrack's Role in the FAST Channel Ecosystem

As the popularity of FAST channels grows, so has the need for streamlined content management and distribution systems. FilmTrack provides a cloud-based platform enabling content owners to manage their assets, track their licensing and distribution agreements, and monitor revenue streams across multiple channels. By using FilmTrack, content owners can gain better control over their assets and ensure the best ROI.

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