OTT FAQs: What Are FAST Channels?

FAST is an increasingly popular tool for brands and over-the-top (OTT) platform producers that are struggling with subscription fatigue and the need to balance costs and expectations. It offers numerous attractive benefits, and the number of available FAST channels has exploded in recent years as a result. Let's break down the OTT meaning of FAST and how it may be the solution you're looking for.

OTT FAQs: What Is the OTT Meaning of FAST Channels?

What Is FAST?

FAST is an acronym that stands for Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV. Essentially, it is an over-the-top platform model that delivers ad-supported content that is free for users to stream. Many of these channels deliver content in a linear fashion, featuring shows that are broadcast in a pre-designed schedule with periodic ads. In this sense, FAST shares more in common with traditional cable TV than it does with other video-on-demand platforms.

FAST is primarily designed for the OTT and connected TV (CTV) platforms. Connected TVs are televisions that connect to the internet to stream content via unique channels that are designed for the CTV platform. FAST has seen tremendous growth in recent years as cord-cutters and other consumers have shown support for an ad-supported model in exchange for receiving free streaming content.

Syndicated Channels and Brand Channels

FAST can be broken down into two types of channels: syndicated channels, which are sometimes called niche channels, and brand channels. Syndicated channels are broadcast by catalog holders and media houses and feature content under a common theme, such as reality TV, action movies, or cooking shows. This is similar to the way traditional cable and satellite TV platforms curate their content with unique thematic channels.

As the name implies, brand channels are published by brands and offer content that is related to the products and services they sell. Brand channels may also offer premium content that promotes the values of the company to help promote its story and build consumer affinity. An example of a brand channel is Pluto TV, which was purchased by media and entertainment giant Viacom and now showcases dozens of its channels on their platform.

Benefits of FAST

FAST offers numerous benefits for brands, content creators, and consumers. With FAST, operators can focus on building their audience without having to worry about subscriber churn. This relieves the pressure of constantly having to create new content to attract subscribers, in addition to providing a new way to monetize existing content. Further, offering free content helps brands earn more impressions than their subscription-based competitors.

For consumers, FAST offers access to all kinds of new content without having to pay a subscription fee. There will be ads interspersed with this content in order to support its creation and streaming, but even that has a silver lining. The FAST platform provides brands with better opportunities for targeted advertising and personalized ads, which can make ads a more enjoyable experience for viewers.

FAST is a powerful tool for brands and producers in search of a new way to promote and monetize their content. Contact Lightcast to learn more about FAST and start building your own channel.