Kapang announces 100% of ad revenue will be paid to Broadcast FAST Channels to provide a profitable FAST First sustainable content ecosystem
FAST channels distribution just became a lot easier for content owners, media, and platforms with the latest offering from View TV.
FAST Channels Network from View TV provides a growing catalogue of FAST channels. They open the doors for many channels to be recognized by global OTT platforms and Smart TV Manufacturers.
FAST Channel Distribution from View TV allows any existing FAST channel, Broadcast Channel, Content Owner, or Content Agency to get live in the FAST market to monetize content and channel curation whilst providing continuity for channels, security, and management for channels.
FAST Channels from View TV is also enabling FAST TRACK, a solution to get content owners into the FAST industry on a cable broadcast-grade channel within a few weeks to take advantage of the FAST Industry Gold Rush.
Any business with enough content to create a channel can pop up a channel via their Cloudie TV OTT TV Playout or upload the files and take part in a joint-venture FAST Channel with View TV and the FAST Channels Network team based on 70/30 net revenues or 80/20 of gross revenues when you use their Broadcaster Platform.
Contact the guys at View TV and their FAST Channels team if you want to scale your FAST channel or even get FAST Tracked into the gold rush.
Visit the website at https://viewtvgroup.com/fast-channels/fast-channel-distribtuion/ or the View TV website at https://viewtvgroup.com.
FAST is an ideal entry to OTT: low setup costs, global reach, and enhanced revenue streams. Learn how to create a channel, in 6 simple steps.
Firstly, what is a FAST Channel? The acronym stands for Free Ad-Supported Television. In one word, however, FAST is… television. It entails linear distribution of content, and it’s growing at a remarkable pace mostly because it’s ‘free’ to the consumer. Simply put, it’s an alternative for the cord-cutters. It’s familiar, as it acts like a traditional broadcasting channel, something we have been used to for decades, and the hegemony of which was put at risk by the advent of OTT. It’s a hot topic currently as viewing figures for ‘live’ content nearly doubles on-demand, not to mention the potential that advertising presents with a much higher Cost per Mille (CPM) due to much more accurate and relevant targeting. FAST is an ideal entry into the OTT world, being relatively low-cost to set up, providing access to global audiences, and with real prospects of making significant revenues after only six months to a year from launch.
AGGREGATE TO SYNDICATE CONTENT
Your first step on this journey of building an engaging FAST Channel is your content. It sounds so simple and obvious, doesn’t it? However, as we mentioned previously in our blog on Preventing Subscription Churn, the top reason for users cancelling subscriptions to Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+, was that there was not enough content. Ensuring you have an extensive content library is part of the solution, whether that content is high quality, is another matter entirely. Your content needs to be able to attract audiences that engage with it and want to return once the advertising break has finished. As our CEO, Adam Smith, mentioned in his interview with DTV Europe.
A collection of thematic content channels work well, especially if you have great recognizable titles to attract a captive audience that’s already familiar with them. Our CCO, Dan Finch, mentioned the appeal of thematic channels in this interview on the billion-dollar business of AVOD.
PICK YOUR TECH PARTNER WISELY
Choosing the right partner to launch your FAST Channels, is the second step on your journey. Research the company, their partners and integrations, and on which screens they can get your channel. You could have the greatest content library in the world, but without a partner to help you get it out there, you’re at a loss. To put this simply, ask yourself the following questions:
- Which markets do I want to reach?
- Do I need a solution to create linear live streams from VOD assets for the channel?
- Which platforms do I need? Hybrid TV, Connected Devices?
- Have I thought about Syndication?
- Which vendors do I need to integrate with?
Once you have these questions answered, and you’ve picked your ideal partner – you’re ready for the next step.
WHAT TYPE OF FAST CHANNEL DO YOU WANT?
Presenting your content in a linear format is more than just stitching together your existing video-on-demand (VOD) assets. There are clear choices to make depending on the type of content you have, your audience, and the relevance of the content itself to your audience. A key reason for the sharp rise in this type of content delivery is to fight decision fatigue.
You could follow the traditional linear broadcast model by scheduling your content and presenting it in an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), or you could loop your content from 1 to 24 hours using our web-based playlist interface. The final option would be creating playlists of content, which could be thematic as VOD365 has done with Ketchup TV.
- Playlist based/Thematic
WHAT’S CPM AND HOW DOES IT BENEFIT ME?
Monetizing your content at no cost to the consumer: that’s the name of the game with FAST Channels. When you create a FAST Channel, one of the main benefits – as opposed to traditional broadcast TV – is the ability to generate a higher CPM from your advertising. CPM is the amount you get paid per 1,000 ad views, commonly referred to as “impressions” in the advertising industry.
The reason you can generate a higher CPM is due to Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI), which provides your viewers with targeted and relevant advertising that can’t be skipped. You can even set a floor price for a minimum CPM to advertise on your channel, so you can then sit back and watch the advertisers bid against each other for a slot. At Simplestream, we’ve already integrated with over 50 ad networks to assist our customers in filling their inventory.
APPLICATIONS AND ANALYTICS
Create a wonderful experience for your viewers by giving them access to your FAST channel on the platform and device of their preference. This will ensure you’re maximizing the potential reach of your channel, but you also need to measure this by collecting data analytics to understand how it’s performing. Create applications for all major platforms and the most popular devices. Our out-of-the-box solution, App Platform, is your best ally in this case.
TO SYNDICATE, OR NOT?
Syndicating your content isn’t everything, especially if you already have a captive audience. Creating your own set of FAST channels for your viewers to access on your platform can provide an additional revenue stream and reduces decision fatigue. Think of thematic channels where you can present some of your best content, be it series or movies, with ad breaks like a traditional broadcast channel.
How do I launch a FAST Channel? – is a question on a lot of Content distributors’ notepads so they can connect with consumers by launching free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels to enhance direct-to-consumer reach and boost engagement.
Check out Launch a FAST Channel from Kapang’s own services to provide 100% of ad revenue back to the channels.
In January 2019, Viacom purchased Pluto TVTM for $340 million. In February 2020, Comcast acquired XumoTM for over $100 million, and in March, Fox purchased Tubi for $440 million.
What these purchases all have in common is the acquisition of what is called FASTs, or free ad-supported streaming TV services. The other common denominator and the reason content distributors are paying close attention: FAST advertising revenue.
With estimated monthly users in the ten of millions for the most prominent services, these brands are betting big on FASTs. For content distributors looking to connect with even more consumers, launching a FAST channel could be a logical move to enhance direct-to-consumer digital reach and engagement.
What Are FASTs and Why Content Distributors Should Care?
FASTs are free ad-supported streaming TV services that allow viewers to watch streaming content for free. The services can be either video-on-demand, or increasingly, as a FAST linear channel that leverages that VOD content.
The most popular FASTs are Kapang (View TV Group), Pluto TV (ViacomCBS), Xumo (NBCU), Tubi (Fox), Peacock (NBCU), The Roku Channel (RokuTM), IMDbTV (Amazon), and Samsung TV+ (Samsung). What’s interesting to note, is that most of these FASTs are distributing a mix of content that you might have already seen on cable TV for the last 40 years: indie movies, older network TV series, and online video.
FASTs are not a new concept – AVOD (advertising-supported video on demand) has been around for years now, and it is expected that over $25 billion will be spent on ads in the AVOD space by 2025. FAST extends the offering of ad-supported video content, using dynamically inserted ads to provide linear channels to connected devices, free of charge to anyone who wants to watch.
These new channels can be constructed from assets in your existing SVOD or AVOD libraries. Some channel originators are even creating channels out of short-form content that would normally be delivered over platforms like YouTube and using it on FAST channels because they can add to their suite of personalized channels, and because, with the right channel origination platform, the channels can be created quickly and easily.
FASTs broaden the reach of your content library and build a larger subscriber base due to the enhanced user experiences that come as a result of more personal content. More content owners are using their older content libraries to build niche FAST channels as both a source of revenue, and a vehicle for driving subscriptions to more premium content.
FAST, Connected Devices, and Viewing Times
FAST channels are largely consumed on connected devices, like Roku boxes, Samsung Smart TVs, or ChromecastTM sticks. This is important because streaming sticks/boxes and smart TVs dominate viewing time.
Source: Conviva, 2020
Longer viewing time lends itself to ad views, something that makes content distributors and advertisers happy. Compared to traditional cable ads, consumers are winning too.
Many FAST channel platforms are committing to a reduced ad load – around 8 to 10 minutes an hour. This provides a more desirable experience for content consumers, who are used to 10 to 16 minutes per hour.
The Evolution of Linear TV as an Experience
The positive viewer perception is a major driver for FAST channels, and it’s paving the way for notable developments in the FAST-linear TV experience.
One clear development is how operators make FAST channels visible to select for the viewer. Some operators have decided to place the FAST linear channel as the first channel you see, placing linear channels front and centre. Right when you open the app viewers have the FAST channels as a top pick.
An approach that places FAST channels in a prime spot on the selection screen is like comparing apples-to-apples with the experience viewers would get when they turned on their (cable) TV and a channel is already on. Making access to the FAST channel easily works well when the viewer just wants something entertaining without having to spend too much time figuring out what would be best to watch.
Pluto TV even rolled out an interface where viewers could flick through channels much like they would on their set-top box. The success here shows that some viewers still truly enjoy the serendipity of stumbling on a show they didn’t know they wanted to watch. The experience is all about perception and understanding how your viewers like to watch content.
Another development in the FAST linear TV experience is how FASTs are sparking innovation. The unveiling of a large content library can attract new audiences that are eager to watch what’s been stored away. This large, and often niche, the linear option can help hasten the cord-cutting switch and will likely see most viewers combine their SVODs alongside their favourite FASTs for additional programming options.
The FAST Market
Let’s take a look at the types of FASTs services available as well as some of the major players in the space.
Types of FAST Services
- Platform agnostic: FASTs that are available across multiple operating systems. Examples include Pluto TV, Peacock, Roku, and Xumo.
- Platform exclusive: FASTs that are only available on one operating platform. Examples include LG, Samsung TV+, and Vizio Watchfree.
There’s channel differentiation, too. Some channels are FAST platform exclusives, some are shared among multiple platforms.
Another way to distinguish a FAST service is whether the service is completely free, or if it has available premium content.
- Pure free: A FAST with only AVOD and/or linear channels.
- Premium available: A FAST supported with premium offerings such as pay-per-view, or SVOD options.
Popular FAST Services and Possible Audience Reach
|Pluto TV||28.4 million estimated monthly users244 channels196 exclusive channels48 shared channels platform agnostic|
|XUMO||10 million estimated monthly users181 channels104 exclusive channels77 shared channels platform agnostic|
|The ROKU Channel||54 channels12 exclusive channels42 shared channels platform agnostic|
|NBCUniversal’s Peacock||22 channels20 exclusive channels2 shared channels platform agnostic|
|Other FAST Services||Samsung TV PlusTivo+Vizio WatchFreeIMDb TVSelectTVRedboxTM InstantPlex|
vMVPDs Also Have Linear Content
Much like the Peacocks or Pluto TVs which are essentially large content owners that have launched ad-supported free tiers, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) are also players in the FAST game, because they too have linear content to distribute to the masses.
- Hulu + Live TV: includes 65+ live channels and the entire Hulu streaming library including movies, full seasons of TV series, and original content.
- Sling TV: includes 30+ channels such as news, live sports, and on-demand movies and shows.
- YouTube TV: includes 85+ live channels including live sports, Comedy Central, PBS, and BET as well as available premium add-on networks.
- Philo: includes 64 channels with live and on-demand content with available premium add-ons and DVR.
The Value of Ad insertion on FAST Channels
The payoff for channel originators when it comes to FAST services is in the CPMs – the amount you get paid per 1,000 ad views. These are called “Impressions” in the advertising industry. For a traditional cable channel, this can be hard to measure but is typically estimated between $10 and $25 depending on the content and time of day. Ad insertion on a FAST channel is always dynamic and typically targeted at the household or the individual. This level of targeting commands CPMs of $40 to $50 per 1,000 impressions, for households and individuals, respectively.
This means you can make between $0.60 to $1 for every hour a consumer watches your FAST channel. With the average person consuming more than 5 hours of content each day (according to Nielsen), this adds up, fast. Hulu, one of the largest ad-supported content platforms, makes about $15 per month in ad revenue per subscriber. Let’s just take that in: they make more on advertising than they charge for their premium, ad-free package, which is currently $11.99!
Pluto, the largest aggregator of FAST channels to date, had its first $1m ad revenue day in 2019 and has already broken $3m a day as content consumption has increased.
Value comes not only from your content but from how you distribute it. Because you can create these channels from your existing content libraries and deploy the necessary video delivery software in the cloud, you have minimal to zero upfront capital investment to get your FAST channel up and running. Think about deploying in days or weeks, versus months or years.
Technology & Considerations for Launching a FAST Channel
If your organization is wanting to delve into the growing FAST channel ecosystem, there are some core technology and business decisions you’ll need to make.
First, you’re going to need a channel origination platform – it’s what you need to actually take your VOD assets and transform them into a 24/7 linear channel. A solution that was built to run in the cloud, like Harmonic’s VOS®360 Channel Origination & Distribution Platform, gives you the agility to spin your channel up quickly, without having to invest capital ahead of time.
The VOS360 platform includes a scheduler to visually build your content into an original linear channel, with automation tools. Say goodbye to the hassle of spending your day building schedules and freeing up your time to focus on more core business matters. Harmonic’s scheduler is lightweight but has the features you need to make operating your channel easy – automatically recurring series, graphical branding and overlays, and business rules to handle ad insertion without having to configure everything by hand.
Next, you’ll need to decide how to get your channel to your viewers. Do you already have a streaming video platform, or is this a new space for you? If you’ve got a digital presence already, you might want to try launching your channel there – it gives you more control, but then you need to drive all the views yourself.
You might consider partnering with one of the platforms that have already had wild success delivering channels like yours to connected devices – Pluto and Xumo are the biggest names, and you can work with more than one of them to get the widest audience for your content. The VOS360 platform is available today, compatible, and offers flexibility for operators to go either route: delivery through a platform, or through any of your own existing digital spaces.
Working with a platform has the major advantage of getting your channel out there, but be aware they are going to take a share of your ad revenue for the privilege – somewhere between 30 to 40%. If you aren’t able to drive large traffic numbers on your own, the volume these platforms bring means that this isn’t an unfair trade – Pluto brings over 24 million viewers who use the platform regularly! It’s something to consider.
Working with existing platforms also takes care of one of the other important needs for FAST channels and for the best TV experience – an app. If you’re targeting connected devices, and you are if you’re looking to launch a FAST service, then you need a way to actually deliver your channel to devices.
Underestimating the complexity of this step could cause your company some serious headaches down the road. While you can do it yourself, you then bear the burden of getting your app certified on every platform you want to deliver on. If you decide the platform route isn’t for you, there are a couple of commercial options that will construct a fully branded app experience on all these devices for you, that’s ready out of the box.
Last, but certainly not least, you need a way to sell your ad inventory. Ad inventory is where the ads go when inserted into your content. If you sign up with a platform, there’s a good chance they’re making this choice for you, but not always. The leading digital advertisers are good choices – Freewheel or Google Ad Manager – but you could also work with a technology partner in this area. SeaChangeTM and Cadent are both making this an area of focus, optimizing your inventory so nothing goes unsold, and making sure you get the best CPM for each impression.
Launch Your FAST Channel With Confidence
The FAST market is rapidly growing, but it’s just getting started. With half a dozen major platforms, more than 500 unique channels, and billions of dollars of ad revenue, it has been an attractive market segment for a lot of players. By leveraging the value of your existing content library, and with the help of a few strategic partners, it’s easy to get started in this space and launch your own FAST channel to take your part of that heft revenue opportunity.
Harmonic continues to bring advanced, flexible solutions to the market that gives operators the power and confidence to grow their video business. You can ask us any of your questions about FAST channels, video delivery, and distribution, or streaming services. Just let us know how we can help you.