Future of Media: What is FAST (Free Ad-Supported TV)??

November 17, 2023

9minutes de lecture

As we navigate the rapidly changing landscape of television, 2021’s ad-free prediction seems a distant memory. The past two years have witnessed an unexpected resurgence in ad-supported TV, breathing new life into the FASTs (Free Ad-Supported TV) and altering major SVOD (Subscription-supported Video-on-Demand) platforms’ strategies. But what’s driving this shift back to ad-favorability?

What Is FAST (Free Ad-Supported TV)?

The Rise and Popularity of FASTs

There were those that believed the tv could someday get away from the ads circle and become a platform necessitating subscriptions. However, the state of things is rather more complicated than just that. Consumer TV (CTV), which is a combination of traditional TV with the targeting efficiency of digital systems, arrived and disrupted the world of advertisement to a great extent.

As a result of fragmentation and growing costs where access is determined by subscription both part-paid free to air TV and streaming services have noticed an accelerated expansion of ad-supported version. The Financial Times have specified that the monthly bill of the top streaming services is greater than the cable TV rate, which has been paid for ever. Although, the tendency proves to be positive and helps viewers include FAST as a valid and budget-friendly selection. The company is strategically positioned to capitalize on the vulnerability of subscription streaming: Roku Channel, Pluto TV and Tubi, as per Neilson data, are already undoing cable TV most similar cable programs in regard to viewership.

Why is this shift occurring? Consider the global average salary and the typical subscription costs. How many subscriptions does a family require to access all the flagship shows? The answer lies in consumer preferences: many now prefer to pay with their time and viewership rather than their limited income. This sets the stage for a new battleground among TV providers, one centered on capturing and retaining customer attention and loyalty.

Back to the Past or Simplicity and Comfort?

FAST channels emulate the structure of traditional cable bundles. Viewers are presented with a channel guide, scheduled programming, and even DVR functions. FAST providers always offer a variety of channels. Unlike many platforms, FAST doesn’t bind viewers with monthly subscriptions. Most don’t even demand a subscription; you can simply turn on the TV and choose your content. And that’s all.

It’s not that viewers want the cumbersome cable bundles of the past. They yearn for simplicity. They desire a system where they can unwind after a long day, switch on their television, and indulge in quality content without the burdens of navigating a labyrinth of subscriptions.

Changing Landscape: 2023’s CTV Predictions

In just two years from now, in the mid of 2023, our viewership behavior has clearly shifted from typical paid streaming, which is currently widely popular to become more inclined towards the so-called AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) and FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV). Advertising is not a business model that is considered exclusive to the small firms anymore, even the big fish like Netflix and Disney+ are thinking of ads being a part of their platform. This transformation is occurring because it has two opposite positive effects, one on viewers and the other on advertisers. As per a survey by Samsung; 3 out of 4 users prefer accessing more free/affordable streaming channels. A look of Samsung’s Q4 2022 indicates that AVOD is now the one of most younger viewers and growing. It beats even SVOD (subscriptions-based video on demand) platforms in terms of followers and growth. This information supports that not only has ad-supported on-demand has become the norm, but that they are being used increasingly. What seemed like a vague concept 2 years ago turned out to be a painfully real phenomenon indicated by the fact that, according to the report from 2023 that was produced by Samba TV, one third of people in the U.S. start using these fast services on a daily basis.

The Win-Win of Ad-Supported Content

The consensus seems clear: consumers’ free premium content and services consumption under pin ads being well accepted.But they want relevancy. The right ads which dots the content and resonates with the content as well shows the win-win. On both, content supply and demand side even information equipment bodies shed light on the challenge of harmoniously sharing and monetizing content signals to make sure that ads are relevant, measured and interesting. Here is, the content identifier is given, the viewer’s perception offers knowledge; in this way, appropriate ad is delivered.

The economic depression also provides a platform for the growth of this medium of advertising. Generally, consumers are more persuaded to save everything that costs one than they were in the past due to insufficient budgets and that shoot their preference towards advertising supported services. But surprisingly adverts don’t repel the audience as it was bypassed a lot. The results of scrutiny in the latest research discover that the consumption of content and engagement between both ad-supported and non-ad-supported views, is, surprisingly, very close to one another.Isn’t that surprising?

Emotionally Resonant Ads

The way advertising acts on emotions should not be overlooked either. In the age of streaming, ads are more than just an interruption; they can be a powerful storytelling tool, complementing core content. When done right, they make a lasting impression, establishing strong connections between brands and viewers. Responsible use of data ensures that ads resonate with viewers and enhance the overall viewing experience.

Looking Ahead

FAST’s flexibility and creativeness are essential for its advancement as it keeps developing. Lots of work shall be done in this area making the industry perceive through ‘room’ to ‘space’ awareness. With the help of data that gives an insight into who watches what and integrating content and advertising accordingly, we can totally take max advantage of the ad-supported TV type.

Therefore, it turns out that there is not a reason between a couple of them why the comeback of an ad-supported television. It has the uniqueness that is quality content which is usually the reason as to why most viewers opt to subscribe to streaming services. This, is also combined with the fatigue and long subscription list, the appeal of shows from the past and short ads that can be skipped after 5 seconds. With ad-supported television, the future looks sunny; allowing entertainment and marketing to seamlessly co-exist at a pocket-friendly rate will remain a reality.

All things considered, research indicates that the established cable TV subscriptions could be entirely replaced by free ad-supported services during the upcoming decade. We can say that the “great unsubscribe” happened during the year 2022 era foreshadowed. Consistent with the burning desire of viewers to invest their money more sensibly, FAST yields an exclusive solution.

For industry executives, a powerful FAST statement might satisfy this booming care category for free content at a time when most viewers break away from pay-TV. However, in addition to the favorable outcomes, funds might be used to ease salary inequalities, which is a sensitive issue currently.

While it is tempting to try and glance into the crystal ball, the TV landscape might become a marriage of demands versus scheduling the programming via FAST. This development isn’t isolated in the past, it is in the sigt, maybe marking its onset by 2030-2040.

Is your streaming service infrastructure ready for FAST and ad-supported services?

It is essential to examine the streaming service’s preparedness for ad-supported streaming, notably when included in the Free Ad-supported Streaming Television services (FAST). Ensuring a clean and natural FAST landscape, which will need technology as well as modernization, is a key instrument that will contribute to the unbroken viewer leisure time experience and to the FAST revenue potential, which will grow with targeted advertising.

However, to keep pace with this changing environment, the adoption of technologically advanced modules, and industry leader technology partners and providers are vital. The Flussonic Media Server brand ensures it remains an absolute standard and a sought-after solution for an ad-supported streaming.

These OVDs are designed with a complete functionality comprised of video ads insertions, adaptive streaming, DRM integration, and dashboards of strong analytics.

The list of questions which are focused on your basic readiness for ads-supported streaming will demonstrate how the Flussonic Media Server can smoothly upgrade your technical infrastructure under the rationally planned scenario of rapid changes.

FAST Fundamentals Checklist

Feature Description
Ad Insertion Functionality Ad Insertion Functionality Flussonic Media Server supports seamless ad insertion, allowing you to monetize your content effectively with targeted advertising.
Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Adaptive Bitrate Streaming Flussonic supports adaptive streaming protocols like HLS, DASH, and Smooth Streaming, ensuring smooth playback across various devices and network conditions.
Multi-CDN Support Multi-CDN Support Flussonic enables the use of multiple Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for efficient content delivery and load balancing.
DRM Integration DRM Integration It offers robust DRM integration to protect your content and comply with content licensing agreements.
Live Streaming and DVR Live Streaming and DVR Flussonic allows for real-time live streaming as well as DVR (Digital Video Recording) functionality for time-shifted viewing.
Transcoding and Transmuxing Transcoding and Transmuxing The server can transcode and transmux media on-the-fly, optimizing content for different devices and bandwidths.
Content Protection Content Protection Flussonic offers security features like geo-blocking, token-based access control, and HTTPS streaming to protect your content and data.
Scalability Scalability It is highly scalable, making it suitable for both small-scale and large-scale FAST deployments.
Analytics and Monitoring Analytics and Monitoring Flussonic provides comprehensive analytics and monitoring tools to track viewer behavior, performance, and network health.
Mobile App Integration Mobile App Integration It supports integration with mobile apps, making it easy to deliver content to iOS and Android devices.
API and Integration API and Integration Flussonic offers a flexible API for custom integration and automation of various processes.

Go beyond fundamentals with Flussonic R&D Partnership

If your solution covers the key functionalities of the checklist, you are half way there, otherwise your solution needs better fine tuning to be fit for purpose. Nonetheless, we admit that in order to compete with the services similar to FAST, you must do the best and not get involved with failure. Personal content and experience are your allies for keeping your audience engaged onscreen, introducing a friendly user interface, and developing personalized suggestions based on users’ habits and preferences.

We comprehend, that depending on your country licenses, it is possible that you may require certain solutions, e.g. video formats, content protection, subtitles, and etc. Since Flussonic Media Server might have some features which you don’t require, this should not be prohibitorily discourage you, but rather it could improve your workflow.

With Flussonic, we are into a R&D partnership approach way where we have continually turned specifics into R&D models. Specifically, personalized ad insertion SSAI (Server-Side Ad Insertion) has developed reasonably well. We participated with a TV channel in the process. Therefore, if you are looking to intro the FAST service, keep in mind that we’re on hand to give you a chance to try Flussonic Media Server. Is it not sufficient or if you wish to detail your wants and needs, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are dedicated to help you extend your business by offering top-notch services, guaranteeing smooth content delivery across all networks, supporting diverse content formats on all devices of your viewers worldwide, and above all is that we enable you with monetizing features.

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