Advanced Television

You have content, now what? A complete guide to launching a FAST channel

March 21, 2023

Free Ad-supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels bring the linear television experience to free streaming, creating an opportunity for content owners, producers, and distributors to monetize existing content.

 Unlike paid-for streaming platforms or cable TV, there is no subscription fee, with revenue derived from ad sales. Combined with low set up costs, global reach, and enhanced revenue streams, FAST is an ideal entry to over-the-top (OTT) streaming.

FAST growth

The rise in popularity of video has seen FAST come a long way in recent years, which can be attributed in no small part to the increase in availability of smart TVs and connected streaming devices. This is echoed in Conviva’s recent state of streaming report which reveals big screens are dominating viewing time, with 77% of all viewing via a smart TV, connected device or gaming console, versus mobile (11%), desktop (7%), and tablets (5%).

The appeal for consumers is the combination of traditional broadcast within a streaming landscape. Content is presented in a way where the viewer has no control over programming within a single channel, versus traditional subscription streaming, which requires a user to actively find and select a programme. This, coupled with the growing interest in existing content libraries and the zero cost to consumers, is driving the FAST evolution.

Entertainment currently makes up the majority of content, but we’re starting to see the emergence of news and sports-focused channels as operators look to supplement core programming.

What’s in it for content distributors?

Launching a FAST channel provides a huge opportunity for content owners and distributors to broaden the reach and increase the exposure of existing SVoD (Subscription Video on Demand) or AVoD (Advertising-based Video on Demand) libraries.

The value of FAST

Monetizing your content at no cost to the consumer: that’s the name of the game with FAST Channels. When you create a FAST Channel, one of the main advantages is the ability to generate a higher Cost per Mille (CPM) from your advertising. Measured in impressions, this is the amount paid per 1,000 ad views.

FAST is able to command a higher CPM than traditional cable channels. This is down to Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI), which provides viewers with targeted and relevant advertising that can’t be skipped, meaning a greater potential earning for every hour of content watched. And with the average person consuming more than five hours of content each day (according to Nielsen), this adds up, fast. 

According to a 2022 report by S&P Global Market Intelligence, FAST business reportedly generated over $4 billion in ad revenue for 2021 in the United States alone, which is expected to more than double to almost $9 billion by 2026.

Value isn’t just generated by content, but also as a result of zero upfront capital investment and channel deployment within days compared to months.

Launching a successful channel

For companies wanting to delve into the FAST channel space, there are several core factors to consider.

The first step to building a successful FAST channel is a robust library of engaging content – whether it be film, news, sport, or even thematic or niche archive programming, your content should attract audiences and make them want to return once the ad break has finished. Consider the type of FAST channel you want, the audience you intend to reach and the relevance of the content to your viewers. Recognizable titles appeal to a captive audience that’s already familiar with them, and the distribution model allows for the repurposing of content that otherwise may have stood idle.

Next, you’ll want to choose the right partner to launch your FAST channel – content owners can turn to FAST Channels TV for distribution. We will work with you to create your channel, arrange the distribution vehicles, and even create a custom-branded OTT app.

The final consideration is marketing. Simply creating a FAST channel doesn’t guarantee audiences will watch it. It’s important to understand the target market and how to drive viewership. Our article, ‘If you build it, will they come?’ offers a deeper insight on how to encourage engagement.

While the FAST market may be growing rapidly, this is just the beginning. And with just a handful of major platforms and a small number of unique channels, now is time to join the FAST space.

With our sophisticated white-label platform and FAST playout generation services, launching a successful FAST channel has never been easier. FAST Channels TV continues to bring advanced, flexible solutions to the market to give operators the power and confidence to leverage the value of their existing content library, build a global audience, maximize monetization, expand channel line-ups, and onboard new partners.

To learn how FAST Channel TV’s products and services can help you set up your FAST channels quickly and effectively, contact us at

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