Advanced Television

VMO2 adds FAST channels

July 28, 2023

By Colin Mann

UK multiplay operator Virgin Media O2 is partnering with A+E Networks EMEA, All3Media International, Banijay Rights, Blue Ant Media, Extreme International, Fremantle, Little Dot Studios and Tastemade to launch a selection of new Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST) channels, available to all Virgin TV customers at no extra cost from next month.

The dedicated channels will appear within Virgin Media’s Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) alongside its current linear channel line-up, but will provide an alternative experience to traditional TV, with programme schedules based on a single show or theme.

The introduction of FAST on Virgin TV demonstrates Virgin Media O2’s ambition to enhance its TV offering to meet the evolving viewing habits of its customers and provide a library of streamed content that complements its existing free to air and pay-TV offering. The new channels will bring the familiarity of traditional broadcast into a streaming setting, providing a convenient way for people to watch a selection of popular TV shows without the need for a subscription.

As part of the new channel line-up, Virgin TV customers will gain access to a variety of new FAST channels including:

• Inside Crime, A&E Networks
• Mystery TV, A&E Networks
• Homes Under the Hammer, All3Media International
• Great British Menu, All3Media International
• Deal or No Deal USA, Banijay Rights
• Fear Factor, Banijay Rights
• Wipeout Xtra, Banijay Rights
• HauntTV, Blue Ant Media
• NextUp Live Comedy, Extreme International
• Baywatch, Fremantle
• The Chat Show Channel, Little Dot Studios
• Real Wild, Little Dot Studios
• History Hit, Little Dot Studios
• Tastemade, Tastemade

The new channel launches will see Virgin Media work with Amagi and Magnite, including its video ad server SpringServe, to manage and develop FAST services on Virgin TV, with the opportunity for Virgin Media and its channel partners to monetise FAST through targeted, dynamic advertising.

“We’re enhancing our entertainment offering to give our customers the best of the latest TV innovation – streaming themed channels, otherwise known as FAST channels,” commented David Bouchier, Chief TV and Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media O2. “Through this launch, we’re reimagining the traditional TV format, making our FAST channels visible in the TV guide alongside all our other pay and free channels.

“Now more than ever, Virgin TV offers a one-stop shop for brilliant programming curated in one easy and convenient place. The introduction of FAST on our platform extends the high-quality viewing experience available to our customers, providing traditional broadcast with Video on Demand, apps, and now linear streaming services all at their fingertips.”

Following launch, Virgin Media O2 will continue to evolve its FAST portfolio, adding further channels in Entertainment to keep the line-up fresh and in line with popularity and seasonal relevance, with plans to introduce FAST to other genres.

FAST channels will only be available on Virgin Media’s latest set-top boxes: V6, TV 360 and Stream.

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