Manatt Digital and Technology Partner Eric Bergner wrote an article for The Hollywood Reporter on the continued emergence of free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels as they become an increasingly popular avenue for content distribution and consumption. Bergner discussed the origins and evolution of FAST, explaining how it has grown alongside traditional forms of television exhibition to offer an additional platform for creators to circulate their content—and earn significant profits. Bergner went on to describe the various opportunities for content owners to participate in the FAST movement and offered advice on how to thrive within this burgeoning market.
Read an excerpt of the article here:
"If you blinked your eyes, you might have missed it. Free ad-supported television (FAST) has transformed from an alternative platform enabling cord-cutters to watch linear television to a complementary platform operating alongside traditional TV.
"For the uninitiated, FAST content is available free of charge to consumers via an ad-supported streaming platform. The advertising is integrated into the content, with content owners and distribution platforms either sharing ad revenue or splitting up the inventory, with each retaining the profits generated from its share. The top FAST services reach tens of millions of users each month. Pluto TV, which is owned by Paramount Global, currently has about 80 million active users, while Tubi, which is owned by Fox, has about 65 million.
"Initially viewed as being competitive with traditional forms of television distribution, FAST has proven to be additive, introducing a younger audience to programming they might not otherwise see and promoting the availability of that programming on traditional TV platforms. As a result, FAST distribution is being embraced by studios, expanding their footprints and creating a space for certain content that might otherwise not have a home. For example, Warner Bros. Discovery announced at the beginning of this year that it had reached deals for the distribution of 2,000 hours of its movies and TV series — including Westworld and The Bachelor — on the Roku and Tubi platforms. This announcement followed the Q4 2022 launches of FAST channels by other entertainment companies such as AMC Networks."
Read the complete article in The Hollywood Reporter here.