Even FAST Channels May Need High-Profile Original Content... Sometimes

For FAST channels, original programming might be a temptation in order to boost growth. But could it be a TV trap door that's ready to open.

FAST platforms -- those free-ad supported streaming TV services, like Tubi, Roku Channel, Pluto TV and many others -- need extra promotion and spin to keep viewers coming back. 

We are talking about advertising and highlighting specific shows on their platforms and channels.

But these projects don’t seem destined to be Hollywood studio projects. Instead, Tubi is thinking more modestly -- at least in terms of cost and casting -- in setting up a process to find a more down-to-earth YouTube or social media video idea to be blown up to a regular-looking TV show. 



Currently, Tubi -- in line with most FAST content -- is not geared toward pulling viewers in via a specific high-level/high-profile actor attached to a series.

According to Anjali Sud, the Tubi CEO, in The Verge: “We’re not asking audiences to really take any actions other than open up our app.”

That’s it. No more. No less. Tubi content may be akin to watching a promotional video. Sample the content. And then if you like, watch the entire series or episode. It doesn’t talk about specific days and times to watch a show. It’s linear TV on complete repeats, of sorts. Whatever you missed will come around again. No worries. In the meantime watch something new.

This sounds strange. But TV Watch’s own dad watched TV this way. He would just turn on the TV -- set at, say, 11:45 a.m. -- and watched whatever was on at that moment.  

For the FASTs, one problem could be that long-term is growth in pulling in new younger viewers looking for original unusual content. (This is where Tubi’s ‘YouTube’ like effort might fit in). The chief draw for these networks is existing, perhaps older, not very discerning TV viewers. 

The ease of access is key.  “We’re 100 percent ad-supported and free for viewers, so there’s no subscription fees,” says Sud. “There’s no tiers, no packages, and no add-ons.” 

All well and good. But Tubi still isn’t profitable.

So what will make more money? More advertising revenues? Sure.

But perhaps in addition to that, some low-cost new TV in-the-moment content that grabs a unique audience? 

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