Origins of Fast Channels
The concept of Fast Channels (short for 'Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television') emerged in the United States as a response to the rapidly evolving media consumption habits of consumers. The decline in traditional television viewership and the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime paved the way for new advertising platforms to emerge. Platforms like Pluto TV, Tubi, and Xumo were among the pioneers that capitalised on this shift, offering viewers access to free content with ad support.
Fast Channels in the UK
Recognising the potential of Fast Channels, the UK media landscape began embracing this new advertising model, with major broadcasters like Sky, ITV, and Channel 4 launching their ad-supported streaming platforms. These platforms not only offer a wide range of content, including live television, sports, and on-demand programming but also present advertisers with an opportunity to reach highly engaged, targeted audiences.
Why Advertisers Should Be Interested in Fast Channels
Reach cord-cutters and cord-nevers
As an increasing number of consumers cut the cord on traditional television or never sign up for cable/satellite services in the first place, Fast Channels offer advertisers an effective way to reach these elusive audiences. These platforms cater to a diverse demographic, ensuring advertisers can tap into a wide range of viewers with varying interests and preferences.
Advanced targeting capabilities
Fast Channels take advantage of programmatic advertising, enabling advertisers to target their audience with greater precision. By utilising data-driven strategies, advertisers can serve relevant ads to the right viewers at the right time. This level of targeting ensures ads resonate better with audiences, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.
Greater ad viewability
The nature of Fast Channels ensures that viewers are more engaged with the content, resulting in higher ad viewability rates. Unlike traditional television, where viewers might change channels during commercial breaks, Fast Channels integrate ads seamlessly into the content, making it less likely for viewers to tune out. This increased ad viewability translates into better results for advertisers.
Fast Channels offer a more cost-effective advertising solution compared to traditional television. The advanced targeting capabilities and higher ad viewability rates mean that advertisers can achieve better results with a lower investment. This cost-effective approach enables brands to maximize their return on investment (ROI) and utilise their ad budgets more efficiently.
Flexibility and scalability
Fast Channels provide advertisers with the flexibility to test different ad creatives, formats, and messaging to identify the most effective strategies. This allows brands to optimize their campaigns continuously, ensuring maximum impact. Additionally, Fast Channels can easily scale to accommodate growing ad budgets and reach new audiences as more viewers adopt these platforms.
Some examples of FAST Channels
- Pluto TV (owned by ViacomCBS) - Offering a diverse range of content, Pluto TV features channels dedicated to various genres such as movies, news, sports, comedy, and entertainment. Some of its popular channels include Pluto TV Movies, Pluto TV Comedy, Pluto TV Drama, and Pluto TV News.
- ITVX (owned by ITV) - This Fast Channel focuses mainly on British content, offering popular shows and series from ITV's various channels. Genres include drama, comedy, reality, documentaries, and entertainment. Some popular shows include Coronation Street, Love Island, and Downton Abbey.
- STV Player (owned by STV Group) - STV Player provides content from Scottish television, featuring a range of genres such as drama, comedy, entertainment, and news. Some of its popular programs include Taggart, Rebus, and Scotland Tonight.
- All 4 (owned by Channel 4) - All 4 offers a vast selection of content from Channel 4, E4, More4, and Film4. Genres include drama, comedy, reality, documentaries, and films. Popular shows on All 4 include The Great British Bake Off, The IT Crowd, and Gogglebox.
- My5 (owned by Channel 5) - My5 provides access to content from Channel 5, 5STAR, 5USA, and 5Select. The platform offers a mix of genres, including drama, documentaries, reality, and entertainment. Some notable shows include Neighbours, Home and Away, and The Gadget Show.
- UKTV Play (owned by BBC Studios) - UKTV Play features content from channels such as Dave, Yesterday, and Drama. The platform offers a variety of genres, including comedy, entertainment, history, and drama. Popular shows include Taskmaster, Red Dwarf, and Call the Midwife.
These Fast Channels showcase a wide range of content, ensuring that viewers in the UK have access to diverse programming that caters to their interests and preferences. As a result, advertisers can target audiences with precision, creating a more effective and impactful advertising experience.
Fast Channels represent a significant shift in the UK advertising landscape, offering advertisers a unique opportunity to engage with highly targeted audiences in a cost-effective manner. By embracing this innovative advertising model, brands can not only reach cord-cutters and cord-nevers but also capitalise on advanced targeting capabilities, higher ad viewability rates, and the flexibility to optimise their campaigns.
As the popularity of Fast Channels continues to grow in the UK, advertisers must stay ahead of the curve and explore this new advertising avenue to maximise their reach and impact. With the right strategies in place, Fast Channels can undoubtedly become a game-changer for advertisers seeking to connect with their target audiences in an ever-evolving media landscape.