Industry Insights: Local broadcasters embracing FAST and forging new partnerships

Feb 26 2024

Published by NewscastStudio here

In the evolving landscape of broadcast technology, free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) is rapidly becoming a focal point for industry discussions. As part of our Industry Insights series, this roundtable gathers a diverse group of broadcast vendors and suppliers to delve into the integration and implications of FAST within traditional broadcasting.

Part two of this series explores the shift towards FAST and its implications for traditional broadcasters, the transformation of TV viewing habits and the critical role of partnerships and collaborations in the industry.

Participants discuss how embracing FAST is not just an option but a necessity for broadcasters aiming to remain relevant in an era where audience preferences lean heavily towards on-demand content.

Key takeaways from the Industry Insights roundtable

  • Traditional broadcasters must adopt FAST and streaming to survive, enabling them to reach a broader audience and adapt to consumer preferences for on-demand content. This transition necessitates re-engineering their infrastructures for agility in launching new delivery services.
  • FAST platforms are altering traditional TV viewing habits by offering premium content for free, attracting a growing audience base, including sports rights holders and cord cutters. This shift reflects a broader industry trend towards digital-first, consumer-centric media consumption.
  • Partnerships and collaborations are critical in the FAST industry, relying on advanced technologies including AI. These alliances enable the sharing of unique product specialties, distribution for distinctive content, and support for ad networks to maximize advertising revenues.
  • The evolution of FAST services is anticipated to draw in technology vendors with a track record in delivering broadcast reliability, video quality, and an enhanced user experience, broadening the scope of FAST beyond niche players and into mainstream adoption.

In what ways is FAST altering traditional TV viewing habits?

Greg Morrow, GM of ViewNexa, Bitcentral: FAST has changed how we watch TV because it combines the beauty of traditional linear broadcasts within the streaming landscape. In today’s market, FAST channels offer a free alternative to subscription platforms and provide an excellent opportunity to drive revenue on existing content libraries. We have also seen an increase in niche channels, including sports and special interest content; these channels include pickleball, billiards and chess to name a few.

How do you see traditional broadcasters, such as local TV stations, further embracing FAST and streaming?

Greg Morrow, GM of ViewNexa, Bitcentral: One of the most recent developments we have seen from our customers is “hyper-local” sports programming such as high school, junior college, and local second-tier professional leagues. These have historically been underserved audiences and are getting increasing amounts of traffic and creating additional revenue streams and sponsorship opportunities for these stations. It is exciting as live local content draws huge tune-in times, even drawing in audiences outside the local community.

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