What is Free Ad Supported TV FAST? 

FAST or Free Ad Supported TV is getting a lot of buzz these days.  It is all for good reasons too.  In this blog we will take a quick look at what is Free Ad Supported TV, why it is taking off and how content owners can roll it out. 


Free Ad Supported TV Definition

FAST stands for Free Ad Supported TV and the definition is baked into the acronym.  FAST is free streaming video content that is free in exchange for the viewer watching the ads.  FAST is the latest trend in Over the Top Video (OTT).  FAST and OTT were made for each other.  Increasingly viewers are looking for content to watch economically, and nothing is more economical than free. 


FAST is the latest evolution in OTT business models.  The first business model to take off was SVOD, or subscription video on demand.  Netflix, Prime, Disney+ dominate this space and most consumers have multiple subscriptions.  If you add these fees on top of expensive and bloated cable TV bills or other Pay TV services, the costs can really skyrocket.  FAST looks a bit more like the Skinny Bundles that were a big trend in the last decade.  Paid Skinny Bundles like Sling, AT&T / DirectTV Now, YouTube TV, Fubo, are all good examples of popular skinny bundles.  These bundles mimic the large multi-channel service (MSP) operator’s offering of channels in exchange for a monthly subscription.  However what Comcast, Charter, Rogers, Shaw or others charge for traditional bundled services border on the outrageous and dramatically make the case for FAST. 


Free Ad Supported TV service providers include Pluto, Tubi, Roku Channel, and Peacock, among others.  The main characteristics are many channels available for live streaming and being able to scroll up and down a channel line up just like on traditional cable TV.  Sometimes FAST is only thought of as being available on Smart TV’s and not offered over apps. However, that definition has been debated as too narrow.  Any platform provider offering the ability to watch substantial amounts of live streaming content, which is free, and is being monetized via ads, is a FAST platform. Tulix is helping content providers put their content out there an monetize it every day with our affiliated company, and FAST platform, Gia.TV https://gia.tv/


Why is Free Ad Supported TV taking off?

The reason FAST (Free Ad Supported Television) is taking off is simple, it’s FREE!  Cord cutters are looking for new content all the time.  With the proliferation of different and multiple video package subscriptions, having some content that is interesting to watch and is not charged for is a must.  In addition to no subscription fees, consumers don’t need to pay a rental on a set top box with FAST.  These MSP rental fees can add up dramatically.  FAST is available through Smart TV apps, Roku or Firestick apps.  People are very used to the ad model and are OK with it.  Consumers also still want a simple and easy lean back option for TV viewing, … especially when watching on a larger screen in a living room for example.  “Always On” video is comforting and inviting.  Cord cutters and FAST make a perfect match so it is no surprise FAST is taking off. 


All the previous benefits for why FAST Free Ad Supported TV is growing are from the consumer side.  There are plenty of reasons why FAST is appealing to content providers that also explain why it is expanding rapidly.  From a provider side FAST is interesting because they can monetize content in an additional way.  They can provide content direct to customers without an MSP in the mix making prices high and consumers annoyed.  Much like SVOD strategies before them, FAST allows content providers to have a direct relationship with their viewers.  Some content owners may not be able to gain enough SVOD subscribers to make a platform viable and launching a FAST service can be a great option for them.  Reaching new viewers with traditional content is another reason to launch FAST services.  FOX, CBS News and Bloomberg have embraced this. 


In our experience FAST also opens the door to additional content providers.  Some of our best customers for FAST include ethnic TV content providers and content aimed especially at diaspora populations hungry for programming from their homeland.  Diaspora TV and ethnic TV are perfect matches for FAST Free Ad Supported TV! 


How to deploy Free Ad Supported TV FAST?

The best way to launch Free Ad Supported TV FAST is to work with an OVP and a CDN.  At Tulix we offer both services out of our data centers and there is no hidden charge for cloud services from AWS or Azure.  Working with an OVP for technology and then focusing on creating great content that viewers want to watch is typically the best approach for content providers. 


Auto scheduling is an important feature to receive from any OVP providing FAST.  This will make life easy for the content provider.  Automatically detecting ad insertion cues and inserting ads is also critical, and when done well a good FAST platform will be monetizing content effortlessly.  If requested a FAST OVP should also enable the ability to pause live TV, provide 7 days (or more) of stored content, plus the viewer capability to rewind and fast forward through content.  Tulix can quickly on board and start up FAST channel origination plus all the above that comes with it.  Our Gia TV platform can have content ready to air literally in minutes. 


A CDN or content delivery network to economically stream content is also a must.  Tulix provides CDN services in our own data center.  Combining streaming channel origination at the CDN site can save considerable headache.  It can help content providers wanting to get started with FAST the ability to combine two steps and two service providers as well as reduce associated costs. 


Want to Learn more about Free Ad Supported TV FAST?

If you would like to learn more about Free Ad Supported TV FAST a short consultation should be able to determine if it is a fit for your business.  In our experience, especially with our diaspora TV and ethnic TV clients, it is best to have them get us their content and then we do the rest.  At Tulix we work with broadcasters, content owners, startups and just about everybody who needs streaming.  Increasingly those streaming needs include Free Ad Supported TV FAST.  Please reach out to us here for further information.  http://tulix.com/contact.php