Advanced Television

Narrative Entertainment unveils 2 new FAST channels

May 30, 2024

Narrative Entertainment UK has announced two new FAST channel launches and the expansion of the GREAT! brand into the US market as it marks its third anniversary.

Since its launch of the free-to-air entertainment GREAT! network in May 2021, the company reports its has enjoyed huge success, beating many established TV brands in a challenging market.

UK Performance

The GREAT! channels, which celebrate the best of movies and TV, and the children’s POP channels are enjoyed by 9/10 viewers in the UK, with channel reach growing 20 per cent in 3 years under the stewardship of Narrative Entertainment UK versus the previous owners.  The TV market grew only 1 per cent in this period – making Narrative’s achievement even more impressive.

Narrative Entertainment’s audience growth has driven clear commercial results: in its 3-year history, commercial impacts on the GREAT! network have increased by 31 per cent – with 2024 already reporting a 10 per cent year on year growth – against market trends.

On top of the sustained year-on-year growth of the GREAT! movies and TV channels, Narrative Entertainment’s POP network remains the largest commercial kids’ group in the UK, with 47 per cent share of kids’ commercial impacts, and the only group to grow impacts year-on-year (+3 per cent).

Paul Dunthorne, Managing Director, said “After a record breaking 2023, Narrative Entertainment UK continues to punch far above its weight, outperforming the market in audience growth and commercial impacts. We are unapologetically focused on our heartland audiences; we know who they are and understand what they enjoy. This, matched with our independence and expertise, gives us the agility and commercial mindset to learn fast, adapt and launch at scale, bringing much loved TV to our audiences, wherever they are – always for free.”

New channels

The company has announced two new channel launches in the forthcoming weeks.

First up is POP UP, which takes the single IP principle of FAST with the know-how of traditional broadcasting, to curate blocks of sequential single IP takeovers weeks at a time.

Jacob Ahlin, Digital Director, said: “FAST channels have been typically built in single IP propositions: these burn bright but burn out – fast. With POP UP, we have landed on a truly innovative ‘FAST native’ sweet spot, meeting the needs of platform, IP owners and crucially – the audience. IP owners benefit from our reach, scale, curation and analytics – without the need to invest in their own channels. Platforms and their audiences get unique content offers and single IP focus, sequentially: the best of all worlds.”

Also launching is GREAT! mystery – a new, FAST exclusive channel which will offer ‘whodunnit’ network premiering movies to digital audiences before they air on GREAT! movies linear.

Beyond the UK

From its inception, Narrative Entertainment has already broadened its horizons via expansion in Ireland and Malta. In partnership with US parent Narrative Capital, the UK team are launching the new channel GREAT! comedy. Delivered by FAST, the channel is dedicated to in depth interviews, comedic podcasts and material from JASH collective, a comedy group set up by Michael Cera and Sarah Silverman.

Dunthorne added: “I am extremely proud of the UK team who continue to outperform the market, driving our growth and success. We’re committed to working with IP holders to add new ways to provide them value, focused on how and where audiences view our content. 2024 will see us continue to scale our distribution, further leverage our direct partnerships with brands – particularly in the kids space – and ramp up our commissioning capability to deliver our production plans into 2025 and beyond.”

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