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What Is The Future of TV?
By Mike Holmes
Friday, January 19th, 2024 @ 5:01pm
What is FAST TV?
Think about how you watch content. You probably have some streaming programs such as Amazon Prime or Disney+. But what’s the future of TV? That’s something I have been thinking about for a long time as I read about patterns of streaming channels.
As a TV guy, it has been very interesting for me to watch how audiences watch my shows.
Popularity of Video on Demand
There have been huge changes in the way people have consumed content over the decades. We used to have access via subscription or specialty channels. Then Subscription Video on Demand became very popular, which is your Netflix and Disney+ etc. People didn’t want to pay huge cable bills every month anymore. We are now at a point where SVODs (Subscription video on demand) have become so popular that there is a LOT of competition.
According to a research report by Nelson, 20% of the audience is so overwhelmed by the choices on streaming platforms that they end up doing something else. I can relate to that! It’s taking longer for viewers to find content they’re interested in. Nelson’s report shows that audiences spend 10.5 minutes searching for something they are interested in watching.
In comparison to your regular cable packages and schedules, streaming services have a HUGE amount of content on various subjects available. But what the Nelson research shows is that the audience is being split amongst different platforms. This is a challenge for advertisers because they can’t rely on monetizing content on a single platform.
From the Neilson report: “In the U.S., for example, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) viewing had fallen to account for 49% of all streaming at the end of May 2023, while ad-supported VOD (AVOD) had grown to account for 26%”
The Future of TV is FAST
Enter FAST channels. FAST stands for free, ad-supported television played in a linear format with a guide, similar to cable or satellite layout and guide. In 2020, FAST channels really took off and since then, free streaming channels have been gaining in popularity. You are paying for your wi-fi anyway, so people don’t seem to mind sitting through 6 minutes of ads. This is where the future of TV is. I truly believe that.
Why FAST channels make sense for consumers?
Inflation is running wild, it’s harder and harder for people to afford monthly bills. The free streaming option is something that’s just completely accessible to everybody whether it be through your smart TV, a connected device or just the internet. I personally love the experience of the good old-fashioned guides on TV.
FAST channels give you the comfort of traditional broadcasts on a streaming platform. Content is available on channels, but the audience doesn’t get to control the programming like they would on Netflix or Crave. There seems to be an increase in interest in channels dedicated entirely to holiday classics, Friends, or TED Talks as examples.
The consumer gets to enjoy programming without paying a monthly subscription (or several). They also don’t need to pay a monthly cable TV bill. FAST content is free of charge, so people who are willing to sit through ads can save money.
Forbes did an article on the rise of FAST channels. Here is what they said:
“FAST channels are increasing in volume and consumer preference on platforms where they are available.”
Experts predict that more and more views will abandon the subscription model in favour of FAST across as many platforms as possible.
The Future is Homeful
A few years ago, I partnered up with an International producer, distributor and channel operator called Blue Ant Media. They recently announced that a suite of their free, ad-supported TV (FAST) channels have launched on LG Channels in the U.S. and Canada. This means LG audiences have unlimited and free access to Blue Ant Media’s extensive library of programming line-ups on each channel.
Homeful is a free Global streaming brand that brings together the best of DIY design renovation and real estate all under one banner. I am excited that some of my classic shows are also on Homeful.
About Blue Ant Media
Blue Ant Media’s suite of FAST (free, ad-supported streaming TV) channels offer audiences curated, exclusive programming that is free to access on growing platforms like VIZIO WatchFree+, The Roku Channel, Xumo, Samsung TV Plus and PrendeTV. The company’s growing global portfolio of FAST channels include Love Nature, HauntTV, Total Crime and Homeful.