FAST viewing takes off

Streaming is firmly embedded as the default entertainment viewing choice for younger adults, while the popularity of traditional linear broadcast TV continues to wane across all age groups. Around a fifth of UK homes subscribe to all three of the most popular platforms – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ – costing around £300 per year. As the landscape continues to develop, streaming services are becoming increasingly expensive, complex, and not to mention, impersonal.

There is a ‘Back to the Future’ scenario happening in the television industry where on-demand, binge-friendly and commercial-free formats are being side-lined in favour of free streaming services, taking us full circle back to linear, passive, and ad-supported channels.

The growth of free, ad-supported television (FAST is the handy acronym), which is played in a linear format with a guide (similar to cable’s or satellite’s layout and guide), includes companies such as Pluto, Plex, Tubi and Mometu.

Not only does the viewer get to passively enjoy without paying a monthly subscription fee often associated with streaming, they also don’t have to pay a monthly cable or satellite TV bill. FAST content is free, so viewers willing to sit through ads can save money. It also offers consumers the chance to rewatch or discover old shows, movies or TV series that may not have been picked up by one of the larger streaming services.

Film studios and content owners benefit by having a new way to monetize their libraries. Independents such as Echelon Studios now have a route to film and TV enthusiasts for its catalogue of more than 5,000 first run titles and 15,000 classical film titles.

The technology enabling this entertainment trend comes from companies such as Fast Channels TV and uses innovative server-side ad insertion (SSAI) to connect over the top (OTT) platforms with content, advertisers, and consumers.

This shift in viewing habits presents opportunities for a range of players in broadcast and streaming. To learn more about how Sandstar can help your company in the streaming and FAST markets, please get in touch.