Everything you always wanted to know about FAST but were afraid to ask…
From the creation of your channel to its monetization and distribution to streaming platforms, we answer all the questions you may have.
Even if you own a premium TV channel or own the rights to video content, you must ask yourself: How do I launch a FAST channel and start generating new revenue?
WHAT DOES FAST MEAN?
FAST is an acronym for “Free Ad-supported Streaming Television,” which means that it’s a channel that is free to watch and is financed by ads.
A FAST channel is a linear TV channel that plays ads during the programming.
FAST channels are published to their viewers for free.
WHAT IS A FAST CHANNEL?
A FAST channel is a channel that is constantly playing for free and is financed by the ads playing on it. The linear channel plays for free on streaming platforms called CTV and OTT. CTVs, or Smart TV, means that your TV or monitor is connected to the Internet.
OTTs, short for Over The Top, offer new options to viewers. They can watch programs free of charge, and the revenue comes from ad placement inserted in the programming (ranging from 10-14 minutes per hour, depending on the country).
They no longer need to subscribe to a paid cable TV or streaming service to watch FAST channels.
WHY CREATE A FAST CHANNEL?
The benefit of creating a FAST channel is rather evident for many reasons. Launching a FAST channel is an excellent option for someone who owns rights to content, a content owner, a TV channel, or even a high-traffic Youtube channel:
a) To monetize the content and create a new income stream without affecting any other areas of the business.
b) To create brand awareness by publishing on new platforms where the content is not yet published. For owners of traditional channels, launching a FAST channel is a strategic move to reach new audiences.
Also, keep in mind that with a FAST channel, it is now possible to publish your content at minimal cost, internationally, in countries where you would never have thought it would be viewed.
WHAT DOES AVOD MEAN?
AVOD is short for Advertising-based Video On Demand.
The consumer can watch a video (movie, documentary, tv show, etc.) for free, and monetizing the content is done through the viewer watching the ads on the video.
The content owner will earn part of the ad revenue to compensate for production and other costs.
WHAT THEME SHOULD YOU USE FOR A FAST CHANNEL?
Before launching your FAST channel, you must find a superior theme to offer your viewers the best possible experience as they will be browsing through all the free channels provided by their CTV or OTT providers.
The best options for FAST channels are as follows:
Nature & Wildlife
Travel & LifestyleFood
These numbers come from a mature market which is the USA. However, these numbers can fluctuate based on the region. We also must remember that the US consumer can put a news channel as a background task and may not necessarily be in front of the screen.
So, choose wisely what your theme will be.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUILD A FAST CHANNEL?
Building a FAST channel will first depend on the type of rights to the content you own. You must absolutely own the rights to the content you are planning to use to build your channel.
Aside from the rights, you must also pick an aggregator that is connected to OTT and CTV platforms. It will allow you to send them an HLS stream link for your channel.
WHAT IS AN AGGREGATOR?
An aggregator is a company that will allow you to publish your FAST channel on OTT and CTV platforms. In the FAST ecosystem, the aggregator is what monitors the success of your FAST channel. In some cases, the aggregator can offer you to use their CMS to build your channel or Playlist.
WHAT IS A CMS?
A CMS is a Content Management System. This tool is a must to build a TV channel. It allows you to manage and update all of your content. It also allows you to create playlists with your content.
WHAT IS A CDN?
CDN is short for Content Delivery Network.
To facilitate the uninterrupted streaming of a channel, we use worldwide servers located nearby to the viewers.
WHAT IS AN AD MARKER?
An ad marker allows you to determine where the ad breaks will play on your FAST channel. The ad marker pinpoints precisely when the ads should play in your Playlist.
Some ad markers are placed to pinpoint when the ads should start, and others to identify when programming should resume.
WHAT DOES SCTE-35 MEAN?
SCTE-35 is the standard for ad markers indicating the beginning or the end of an ad break or a local program. You can include the SCTE-35 markers in the transport flow and DASH, HLS, and CMAF outputs.
WHAT DO WE CALL A PLATFORM?
Platforms are CTVs, OTTs, and will also soon be telecom operators. In other words, all publishers of FAST channels are monetized by ads worldwide.
WHAT DOES CTV MEAN?
As mentioned earlier, a CTV (Connect TV), also called a Smart TV, is a television or monitor that is connected to the internet. Traditionally, CTVs are TV manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, TCL, Hisense, or Huawei.
They are the ones developing the operating systems for their Smart TVs. Samsung is currently the largest manufacturer of TVs but only represents 14% of the market. The second largest operational system manufacturer is LG, representing 7% of the current market. However, this can change in the next 12 months based on the recent market evolution.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CTV AND OTT?
OTT and CTV are pretty different but have one thing in common. An OTT allows access to content such as VOD or FAST channels. It is a subscription service, either completely free for FAST and AVOD; or pay-per-view (SVOD). VCT represents the device through which users access to content: the TV screen. So, where is the common ground? Well, quite simply, they both deliver content via an internet stream as opposed to analog and cable TV.
HOW MANY ADS ARE PUBLISHED IN A FAST CHANNEL?
The number of minutes per hour on FAST channels varies by territory and platform demand. In Europe, platforms require between 8 and 10 minutes of advertising per hour of programming. In contrast, in the US, platforms require between 14 and 16 minutes of advertising. If you create a channel that will be transmitted on both continents, you will need to send each platform a different HLS, i.e., at least two HLSs.
HOW MANY HOURS DO WE NEED TO BUILD A FAST CHANNEL?
You can very well create a FAST channel with only 100/120 hours of programs for the first year. But you should know that some platforms only take channels with a lot of content, in other words, between 200 and 250 hours of content. The most important thing is to plan for refresh hours, in other words, hours of new production. So what counts in a FAST Channel is, of course, the number of hours but also the Refreshing Rate.
WHAT IS THE REFRESHING RATE?
This term refers to the additional hours to refresh the program on your FAST channel. It avoids having a program with the same number of hours running on a loop.
WHAT DOES CONTENT SEGMENTATION MEAN?
A FAST channel includes slots for programmatic advertising. To insert the advertising space, a program has to be cut since the aim is to place between 10 and 14 minutes of advertising per hour. It is not advisable to cut a program during an action, or while someone is talking, so it will be necessary to segment the content, i.e., to find the empty or dead moments in order to decide where the ad spaces will be placed.
There are several ways to segment your content:
– Manually through the human eye by going through each video.
– Via an AI automation that will automatically recognize these locations.
WHAT DOES METADATA MEAN?
Metadata is essential today because it is like the SEO for the content of your FAST channel, and though, the Metadata elements must be carefully filled in.
Whether it’s the year a film was released, the genre of the film, the cast, or the location where the film was shot, all this information will highlight that video in a viewer’s search. The more you fill in your metadata, the easier it is to find you. In simple words, filling in the metadata will make it easier to find your content.
IN WHICH COUNTRIES SHOULD I LAUNCH MY FAST CHANNEL?
Launching a FAST channel in a country or territory depends, above all, on the language of your content.
If your channel is in English, then the English-speaking territories vary. The USA, UK, South Africa, Ireland, Australia, and Canada, without forgetting all the countries where English-language channels are accepted, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. There are also several African countries in English-speaking countries, but it is difficult at the moment to capitalize on revenues in these countries because the CPM is very low.
But anyway, FAST is not open in all countries or just starting up. If, on the other hand, your content is in Italian, German, or Greek, this limits the scope of your channel to countries speaking that language. However, there are cases such as Australia where the Greek diaspora is significant, so platforms in Australia would be interested in your Greek channel. In summary, the two really interesting languages that cover the most territories are English and Spanish.
WHAT IS PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING?
Programmatic advertising is an all-digital form of advertising. It is exactly what you see on YouTube (extended programmes are interrupted by ads).
WHAT DOES IAB MEAN?
IAB stands for Interactive Advertising Bureau. It is an American organization that establishes a charter of good conduct with advertising standards. In other words, it regulates the advertisements appearing on FAST (or other) channels. It is imperative to choose the themes of the advertisements broadcast on each channel. This choice can be made from a list of IAB categories at the following link:
How to manage a FAST channel with multiple languages? Currently, the platforms that broadcast FAST channels do not operate multilingual channels. The only solution is to create an additional channel for each language. However, it is possible to add subtitles to your channel. To do this, you must be able to deliver an SRT file or the scripts of your programs.
WHICH PLATFORMS CARRY FAST CHANNELS?
Streaming platforms that broadcast FAST channels are generally CTVs and OTTs. Among the CTVs, we can list Samsung TV plus, LG Channel, Xiaomi, TCL, Huawei, Hisense, and Vizio. Other CTVs such as PHILIPS, SONY, JVC, ERICSSON, and PANASONIC have not yet launched into FAST packages. As for the OTT platforms that currently offer FAST channel packages, we can list Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Tubi, LocalNow, Freebie, Redbox, Stirr, Xumo, Distro TV, Netgem, and others.
WHAT IS A PLAYOUT?
Playout is a term for transmitting the TV channel stream from the broadcaster to Platforms or other channel broadcasters or even to satellites that can deliver the content to the viewer. In a nutshell, a Playout company can convert your channel’s Playlist into an HLS stream to distribute it to streaming platforms around the world.
WHAT IS A CMS?
CMS is the acronym for Content Management System and stands for Content Management System.
WHAT IS A HLS FLOW?
HLS is an acronym for HTTP Live Streaming. It is, therefore, a communication protocol for broadcasting content over the Internet based on the HTTP protocol. HLS is consequently used to broadcast a video stream.
WHAT IS A S3 BUCKET?
It is a cloud storage access where you will upload your content to create your channel.
WHAT IS A SHOWREEL?
“A channel showreel is the equivalent of a promo reel that shows the most explicit clips from your channel to encourage platforms to reference your channel. Ideally, a showreel should be no longer than 1 minute. You can see some examples of Showreels here.
WHAT IS AN OTT?
OTT, precisely Over The Top, refers to any streaming service that provides content over the Internet and another platform, such as a TV or Internet broadcaster. In most cases, the essential OTT service is the video OTT service. Some OTTs only offer VOD, such as Netflix, Paramount+, Disney+, and others provide linear channel packages for free (in FAST mode).
WHERE AND HOW TO WATCH FAST CHANNELS?
The spread of FAST channels is unprecedented and represents the most considerable increase with a presence on Connected TV (CTV) and OTT.
It is a different way of watching TV on multiple screens; in both cases, there is no need to subscribe to cable or satellite.
FAST channels are completely free to consumers and are monetized mainly through advertising. The channel publisher, CTV and OTT platforms, and programmatic advertising agencies share the revenue generated by the advertising.
The platforms bring in eyeballs (the number of viewers who go to see the channels).
The channel publisher brings the content and programs.
The advertising agencies bring the monetization.
And for advertisers, it’s an innovative way to reach new audiences and a much more targeted method of communication.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
It does not cost anything to the consumers that watch the FAST channel.
And for content owners? Some of them are lost because creating a FAST channel requires time and money. Creating the channel, publishing the stream, and enrolling on a CTV or OTT, all aggregators ask for large payments upfront. All but SoFAST!
WHY WORK WITH US?
-If you want to create your channel:
In this case, SoFAST is a real added value for you because we will take care of all the work from the creation of the channel to the placement of this channel on platforms and monetize it. The only thing you have to do is to make your content available to us and let us do the rest!
With SoFAST, there are no setup fees, no monthly fees, no CDN fees, no Ad Insertion fees, no SSAI fees: no fees a all!
At SoFAST, we work solely on revenue-sharing, so your success is our success.
Our plus is that we do all this on a revenue-share basis and take care of all the costs of creating, setting up, and distributing your channel. Thanks to SoFAST, you can enter the FAST business FREE of charge.
-If you already have a FAST channel and only want to distribute it:
SoFAST is connected worldwide to CTV, OTT, and other traditional platforms that agree to distribute FAST channels on the revenue-sharing model. SoFAST does not charge any setup or monthly fees to distribute your FAST channels! At SoFAST, we work solely on revenue-sharing, so your success is our success.
Want to talk about it? Talk to us now!