FAST Channel Millionaires – No but Why – YouTube is the undisputed king of online video, with more than 2 billion monthly active users and over 500 hours of content uploaded every minute. YouTube is also a lucrative platform for content creators, who can earn money from ads, subscriptions, merchandise, sponsorships, and more. According to Forbes, the top 10 highest-paid YouTube stars of 2020 collectively earned $211 million, with Ryan Kaji, a nine-year-old who reviews toys, topping the list with $29.5 million.
But YouTube is not the only game in town when it comes to streaming video. There is a growing market for free, ad-supported streaming television, or FAST channels, which offer linear and on-demand content similar to cable TV, but without the subscription fees. Services like Pluto TV, Tubi, Xumo, and Samsung TV Plus are some of the leading players in the FAST space, which is expected to reach $4 billion in ad revenue by 2024, according to eMarketer.
However, despite the increasing popularity and potential of FAST channels, there is a stark contrast between the earnings and fame of YouTube creators and FAST channel owners. There are no FAST channel millionaires, let alone celebrities, and the chances of becoming one are slim to none. Why is that? What are the factors that make YouTube a gold mine for some, but FAST channels a barren land for most? Here are some possible explanations:
- Quality of content: YouTube is known for its diverse and original content, ranging from gaming and beauty to education and comedy. YouTube creators have the freedom and creativity to produce videos that appeal to their niche audiences, and often invest in high-quality equipment, editing, and production values. FAST channels, on the other hand, are mostly populated by low-budget, generic, and recycled content, such as old movies, TV shows, reality series, and news. FAST channels lack the freshness and uniqueness that YouTube offers, and thus have a harder time attracting and retaining viewers.
- Community and engagement: YouTube is not just a video platform, but also a social network, where creators can interact with their fans and build loyal communities. YouTube creators can use features like comments, live chats, polls, stories, and memberships to communicate with their viewers, solicit feedback, and foster a sense of belonging. FAST channels, however, are more passive and impersonal, where viewers have little to no connection with the channel owners or other viewers. FAST channels do not offer any social or interactive features, and thus miss out on the opportunity to create loyal and engaged fans.
- Monetization and revenue share: YouTube offers multiple ways for creators to monetize their content and earn money from their views. YouTube creators can join the YouTube Partner Program, which allows them to earn a share of the ad revenue generated by their videos, typically 55% for the creator and 45% for YouTube. YouTube creators can also earn money from YouTube Premium subscriptions, Super Chats and Stickers, Channel Memberships, Merchandise Shelf, and Brand Deals. FAST channels, however, have a more limited and less transparent monetization model, where channel owners have to rely on the FAST platforms to sell ads and share the revenue with them. The exact terms and conditions of the revenue share vary by platform and channel, but are generally less favorable and more uncertain than YouTube’s.
In conclusion, YouTube and FAST channels are two different beasts when it comes to streaming video, and the differences are reflected in the earnings and fame of their content creators. YouTube offers more opportunities and incentives for creators to produce high-quality, original, and engaging content, and to earn a substantial and stable income from their views. FAST channels, on the other hand, offer more challenges and barriers for creators to produce low-quality, generic, and passive content, and to earn a meager and unpredictable income from their views. Therefore, it is no surprise that YouTube has millionaires, but FAST channels don’t.