What is a FAST Network?

We authored a recent article entitled, “What is Free Ad Supported TV.”  You can find it here.  http://tulix.com/news.php?id=146.  We are just back from NAB 2022 and we had many interesting conversations with content owners wanting to monetize content with FAST.  The topic of launching FAST Networks was a consistent theme.  Most of the conversations centered around preparing content to be streamed in a lean back manner on aggregators like our partner Gia TV https://gia.tv/ and larger players like Pluto and Roku TV.  There is a platform for every type of channel.  Gia TV for example specializes in Diaspora TV, ethnic TV, and house of worship TV. 


In the remainder of this article, we will highlight the definition of FAST, some FAST Network examples, why content owners are wanting to launch FAST Networks, plus what makes up the back end of a FAST Network.  



This is the definition we provided for FAST in our earlier blog, “FAST is 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 ads.  FAST is the latest trend in OTT, or Over the Top Video.  FAST and OTT were made for each other.  Increasingly viewers are looking for content to watch economically … and nothing is more economical than free.” 


What are FAST Network Examples? 

The first aspect of a FAST Network is it is lean back.  Many viewers are tired of needing to select content to watch on demand all the time.  They want to lean back and watch what is served to them or channel surf.  If all of this sounds like back to the future, it’s because it is.  While VOD is lean in, FAST Networks are lean back.  On Pluto and Roku TV, you can find various sub news channels from major providers.  You can also find channels with pre played content from their back catalogs.  All this content might have been syndicated as reruns back in the day.  On providers like Gia TV, the channel line up is more tier one content from foreign providers and specialty content. 


Why are Content Owners Launching FAST Networks? 

The ability to monetize content with FAST Networks is the reason content owners are launching them.  Revenue from ads served up to viewers is a low impact way to generate new revenue streams.  With the unbundling of content consumers find themselves with multiple paid services.  Many consumers are maxed out on the number of SVOD offers they are willing to pay for.  After you subscribe to Netflix, Prime, Disney Plus and HBO Max, it is not an insignificant bill.  On top of all that, viewers may not always have content they wish to watch.  And they may not want to think about making a choice and this is where FAST comes into play … FAST Networks serve up content viewers do not need to make a choice about.  All this makes this writer want to grab a bag of chips and hit the couch. 


What is in the backend of a FAST Network? 

There are many moving parts when it comes to streaming OTT.  Launching a FAST Network is not any different.  Receiving the incoming video and audio feeds needs to be done.  Encoding and setting up multiple profiles for different devices and bandwidth must also be done.  Packaging for different types of devices must also be addressed.  Many or most FAST Networks also offer the ability to pause, rewind and fast forward live TV.  Typically, a circular buffer is provided for x number of hours to do this.  Accomplishing ad insertion is the most critical part of a FAST Network.  This is done through careful manifest manipulation, ad server communication (SSAI), and working with standards like VAST for ad decisions and getting spots to run.  Finally, serving content over a CDN or CDNs must occur.    Fortunately, Tulix can address all these points with our end to end solutions and make things easy for content owners. 


Suffice it to say, there are many reasons why content owners will want to learn more about FAST Networks and monetize content with FAST in the years to come. 


Want to Learn More? 

Tulix has been providing streaming solutions and services since the start of streaming video.  We provide live event streaming with low latencyOTT, and IPTV solutions, plus TullixCDN, a low cost and efficient content delivery network.  Tulix offers video playout and cloud origination from our data center suitable for all types of content owners.  As mentioned in this article, Tulix also has FAST and FAST network and channel services and partners with portals for aggregating and monetizing streaming channels and content.  Tulix provides end to end video delivery services and platforms that include transcoding, content management, monetization and billing, analytics, security, and apps for viewers and subscribers.  We serve content owners, broadcasters, OTT and IPTV operators, enterprises, house of worship and live event streaming customers.  Tulix services make streaming, video delivery, and providing content to viewers and subscribers easy and cost effective.  Please contact here to discuss how to monetize content with FAST Networks.  http://tulix.com/contact