Why FAST Channels Need to Improve Their Content Quality. FAST (Free Ad-Supported TV) channels are streaming platforms that offer free access to linear and on-demand content, supported by ads. FAST channels have been growing in popularity in recent years, as more consumers cut the cord and look for alternatives to traditional pay-TV services.
However, FAST channels still face a major challenge: their content quality. According to a recent report by Conviva, FAST channels accounted for only 3% of total streaming viewing time in the second quarter of 2023, compared to 69% for subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, 18% for ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) services like YouTube, and 10% for cable TV.
One of the main reasons for this low market share is that FAST channels rely heavily on archived content, rather than original or exclusive content. Archived content refers to older shows and movies that have already been aired on other platforms, and may have lost their relevance or appeal to modern audiences. Archived content is cheaper and easier to acquire for FAST channels, but it also limits their ability to attract and retain viewers who are looking for fresh and engaging content.
In contrast, SVOD, AVOD, and cable TV services invest heavily in creating or licensing original or exclusive content, which gives them a competitive edge over FAST channels. Original or exclusive content refers to shows and movies that are either produced by the platform itself, or acquired from other sources with exclusive rights. Original or exclusive content helps the platform to differentiate itself from others, and to build a loyal and passionate fan base.
For example, Netflix has been producing hit shows like Stranger Things, The Crown, and The Witcher, which have become global phenomena and boosted its subscriber base. YouTube has been featuring popular creators like PewDiePie, MrBeast, and Lilly Singh, who have millions of followers and generate billions of views. Cable TV has been offering live sports, news, and events, which are still in high demand and hard to replicate by streaming platforms.
Therefore, FAST channels need to improve their content quality if they want to increase their market share and compete with other streaming platforms. They need to offer more FAST first content, which is content that is created or acquired specifically for FAST channels, and is not available elsewhere. FAST first content can help FAST channels to showcase their unique brands and content, and to appeal to different niches and demographics.
Some examples of FAST first content are:
- Only Motors, a FAST channel dedicated to automotive enthusiasts, featuring original shows like Car SOS, Fifth Gear, and The Car Years.
- LOL Network, a FAST channel created by comedian Kevin Hart, featuring original shows like Cold as Balls, What the Fit, and Hart to Heart.
- Rathergood Network, a FAST channel featuring original music, comedy, and animation, created by Jamie Branson
These FAST channels have been able to attract and retain viewers by offering original and exclusive content that caters to their specific interests and tastes. They have also been able to leverage their existing fan bases and social media presence to promote their FAST channels and content.
FAST channels have the potential to become a major force in the streaming industry, as they offer free and convenient access to a variety of content, supported by ads. However, they need to improve their content quality, by offering more FAST first content, rather than relying on archived content. FAST first content can help FAST channels to differentiate themselves from other platforms, and to engage and satisfy their viewers.