FAST (Free Ad-Supported TV) channels are linear channels that stream free content with ads, similar to traditional TV. FAST channels appeal to viewers who want to watch streaming TV without paying any subscription fees, as long as they watch 10-12 minutes of ads per hour.
To launch and run a successful FAST channel, you need to consider the following 10 factors:
- FAST Channel name and brand: The name and brand of your channel should reflect the genre and quality of your content. For example, if you name your channel Coca-Cola TV, you will attract more viewers than Soda TV, because Coca-Cola is a well-known and trusted brand.
- FAST Channel content: The content of your channel should match the expectations and interests of your target audience. The brand helps to establish credibility, but the content is still the most important factor for retaining viewers. You need to offer content that is original, relevant, and entertaining, and that fits the theme and tone of your channel.
- FAST Channel clock format: The format of your channel should follow the conventions and standards of traditional TV. This means having four or five ad breaks of equal length per hour, and starting programs at the top or bottom of the hour. This format creates a familiar and comfortable viewing experience for your audience. You should also include sponsorship bumpers and promotional slots, which can generate additional revenue for your channel.
- FAST Channel curation: The curation of your channel should align with the brand and direction of your channel, and take into account the preferences and habits of your audience. You should schedule your content according to the time of day, the type of program, and the mood of the viewer. For example, you should not air horror movies at 8 am, as this would not suit the majority of your viewers.
- FAST channel playout: The playout of your channel should provide a TV-like experience and support various revenue opportunities. You should choose a playout provider that can support sponsorships, product placement, onscreen promotional graphics, and call-to-action campaigns, as well as live events and studios. You should avoid HLS schedulers, which are cheaper but offer lower quality and revenue than live streaming TV playouts as the savings in technology will restrict your earning potential more than ten times your savings. Do it right and earn well, cheaper is bad economics, although there is probably $10,000 per year between cheap and expense.
- FAST channel marketing and social media: The marketing of your channel and brand is essential for attracting and engaging viewers. You should use direct marketing, content marketing, and social media strategies to promote your channel and content. You should also allocate a sufficient budget for marketing, as this is one of the most expensive parts of the process.
- FAST Channel platform distribution: The distribution of your channel should focus on quality rather than quantity. You may be tempted to get your channel on as many platforms as possible, but this can result in a fragmented revenue stream and a diluted brand identity. You should prioritize the major platforms that have high traffic and exposure, and avoid running your own owned and operated app, which can be costly and ineffective.
- The FAST channel business model: The business model of your channel should consist of two equal parts: TV ad-break funding and other revenue sources. TV ad-break funding alone will not work for premium content, as it depends on many factors, such as the quality and quantity of the ads, the fill rates, and the CPMs. You should also explore other revenue sources, such as sponsorships, product placement, and merchandise sales, which can enhance your content and brand value. A good rule of thumb for FAST channels is to aim for $0.50/hour/person in revenue, which means that 50,000 people watching for 10 hours per month would generate $3m/year in gross revenue before deductions and distribution costs. The branded channels can achieve between 5 million and 10 million hours per month with the right marketing.
- The AVOD catalogue: The AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand) catalogue of your channel should complement your linear content and offer more choice and convenience to your viewers. You should make your content available as video on demand with ads, so that viewers can watch it on demand like Netflix, but without paying any fees. This can add more than 30% additonal revenue to your FAST channel business model.
- FAST channel resources: Some of the easier resources of your channel should be outsourced to experts rather than carried out in-house by inexperienced staff. You should hire a third party to build and manage your FAST channel, you concentrate on curation, marketing and content aquisiion or creation. Outsourcing can save you time and money, and provide you with a high calibre of necessary skills and expertise. For example, View TV can build and manage your FAST channel for less than $5,000 per month across the three major roles, scheduling, media management and broadcast engineering while doing it in-house would cost you more than $20,000/month or overload your CEO Hats collection. You should also outsource your marketing and social media, and focus on your content and brand in-house. This way, you can get the best help to FAST Track and succeed.
Making sure you have a great balance of all 10 points will see your FAST Channel Succeed.
Remember less is more, build one amazing channel not ten weak channels as the costs will be lower, the process easier and the profits higher.
Written by Jamie Branson – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiebranson/ the FAST Expert and owner of View TV