Your effort, your time and your baseline overheads are the same for any size of FAST Channel Operator. Audiences have not changed from traditional TV and their TV Format expectations are unchanged and they are not willing to accept inferior services. If you are going to do it, do it properly.Jamie Branson – View TV
Why Bootstrapping FAST Channels Is a Bad Idea
Free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) is a booming business model that delivers free content to viewers, both linear and on-demand. FAST channels are monetized through advertising, which can be traditional, interactive, or programmatic.
FAST channels offer many benefits to content owners, such as the opportunity to monetize old and unused library content, reach new and diverse audiences, and create new content bundles.
However, launching and running a FAST channel is not a simple or cheap endeavor. It requires a lot of resources, expertise, and strategy to succeed in the competitive and dynamic streaming market. Many content owners may be tempted to bootstrap their FAST channel, which means starting and growing it with little or no external funding.
Bootstrapping may seem like a smart and lean way to avoid diluting ownership and control, and to prove the viability and profitability of the channel. However, bootstrapping a FAST channel can also be a risky and costly mistake, for several reasons:
- Bootstrapping a FAST channel can limit the growth potential and scalability of the channel. FAST channels need to invest in content acquisition, production, and licensing, which can be expensive and complex. Bootstrapping a FAST channel can restrict the budget and the quality of the content, which can affect the attractiveness and the retention of the channel. Moreover, FAST channels need to distribute their content across multiple platforms and devices, which can require technical and operational capabilities and partnerships. Bootstrapping a FAST channel can hinder the ability and the speed to reach and serve a large and diverse audience, which can reduce the ad revenue and the market share of the channel.
- Bootstrapping a FAST channel can expose the channel to more competition and disruption. The streaming market is highly competitive and dynamic, with new entrants and innovations constantly emerging. FAST channels need to differentiate themselves and adapt to the changing preferences and behaviors of the viewers and the advertisers. Bootstrapping a FAST channel can limit the resources and the flexibility to innovate and improve the channel, which can make it vulnerable to losing its edge and its audience. Furthermore, FAST channels need to comply with the legal and regulatory requirements and standards of the streaming industry, which can vary by region and platform. Bootstrapping a FAST channel can increase the risk and the liability of the channel, which can result in fines, lawsuits, or bans.
- Bootstrapping a FAST channel can compromise the vision and the value of the channel. FAST channels need to have a clear and compelling vision and value proposition, that aligns with the brand identity and the audience expectations. Bootstrapping a FAST channel can force the channel to make compromises and trade-offs, that can dilute or distort the vision and the value of the channel. For example, bootstrapping a FAST channel can lead to accepting low-quality or irrelevant ads, that can annoy or alienate the viewers. Or, bootstrapping a FAST channel can lead to cutting corners or sacrificing features, that can degrade or diminish the user experience. These compromises and trade-offs can erode the trust and the loyalty of the viewers and the advertisers, and damage the reputation and the sustainability of the channel.
Therefore, bootstrapping a FAST channel is a bad idea, that can jeopardize the success and the survival of the channel. Instead, content owners should seek external funding and support, from sources such as investors, partners, or sponsors, that can provide the capital, the expertise, and the network to launch and run a FAST channel effectively and efficiently.
External funding and support can help the FAST channel to achieve its goals and to overcome its challenges, and to create a win-win situation for the content owners, the viewers, and the advertisers.