VIP+ Webinar: How FAST

In the world of entertainment consumption, FAST is HOT. After companies either continue to launch ad-supported free-to-air TV channels or increase the number of FAST channels they offer. And naturally, as the audience grows, the amount of money that can be earned from advertising grows with it.

But how can a company create its own FAST destinations in a media climate brimming with viewer appeal? For the four-part “FAST Forward” webinar series, Variety Intelligence Platform has partnered with Wurl, the leading independent FAST channel builder and CTV advertising solutions company, to explore every facet of the platform with experts who have done just that.

In Part 3, “How FAST,” senior media analyst Gavin Bridge sits down with Jonathon Barbato, co-founder and co-CEO of Best Ever Channels; Taylor Devorsky, sales manager for Samuel Goldwyn Films; Wurl vice president of the oAmanda Fell operations; and Brian Hirsch, vice president of marketing partnerships and brand strategy networks for Sony Pictures Television.

Proof of FAST’s proliferation, the three content companies in this session have a collective of 17 channels – classics, international, broad entertainment and personal transformations, to name a few – with more on the way. . Wurl, for its part, has helped content companies and broadcasters set up some 1,200 channels, as well as supporting them with operations and integrating new platforms as they emerge. .

At its most basic level, FAST allows broadcasters to leverage and consolidate the content they already own, essentially creating “vertical” programming tables. And the call is clear: give people what they want so they don’t have to search through thousands of offers on a seemingly endless number of channels for something interesting.

Best Ever’s Barbato puts it simply: “We saw that there was an opening for niche channels… for channels that have an avid audience but weren’t getting a lot of play with some of the bigger streamers. .”

For legacy providers, FAST offers a streamlined way to monetize existing libraries at a relatively nominal price, providing access to content that otherwise might remain largely invisible. “The costs of creating a channel today are so much lower than 10 years ago if you wanted to create a cable channel,” says Bridge.

Devorsky cites a successful Samuel Goldwyn entry as the perfect example. “Looking at the FAST channel options available, we didn’t necessarily see one with a focus on classic cinema, and we had all these great titles from the Samuel Goldwyn Trust.”

So how does a provider launch a FAST channel? Wurl’s Fell offers something of an introduction, noting some things company executives should consider. First, do you have the goods – as in, enough related content to fill the whole day every day? Second, what is your programming strategy? Will what you plan to air be more of a marathon slate, or will there be diversity so programming blocks can be moved around to be fresh for viewers?

She advises broadcasters to think carefully about the most important ad breaks, which should never, ever interrupt the crucial moments of a television or film. And finally, Fell warns that metadata is meaningful. Coming to the table with content offerings is one thing, but, she says, “people need to read and understand what they’re about to watch…in a TV-friendly format that doesn’t not end with ellipses”.

Hirsch agrees, noting that when Sony Pictures Television first launched, programmers only had to provide the channel name and a 110-character description, which would work 24/7. . Today’s metadata should include episode details, cast and crew information, and eye-catching artwork to capture viewers’ attention as they browse program guides. In short, it’s not your parent’s metadata.

And of course, social media is important for spreading awareness of a provider’s FAST offerings. “We find that people on social media are probably not the ones who are already using FAST channels, but they are interested in content,” says Hirsch, adding that reach is key.

As FAST continues to proliferate, so will the desire of businesses to participate, even if not everyone will do it well – or profitably. “How to FAST” is a must-watch for anyone considering going into space. Also Worthy Clicks: Part 1,”What is FAST?; and the second part, “Fast walk.”

About Miley Sawngett

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