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FAST Channels Part Two: Why They Matter for Sports Entities

05/12/2023

FAST Channels Part Two: Why They Matter for Sports Entities Samsung, ATP Media, and Telstra Broadcast Services On Why FAST Should Be Part of Your Content Strategy By SVG Staff

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 - 11:50 am

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Below is part two of our report on the rise of FAST (free ad-supported streaming). It has been undeniable in the past two years, and the transcript below dives into everything from how to launch a FAST channel, what makes for a successful one, and how it can help sports entities, both big and small, expand their reach and business. It is based on a panel discussion at Sportel Monaco that was moderated by SVG Co-Executive Director Ken Kerschbaumer, featured three key entities either involved in or seriously investigating a FAST sports service: Samsung (represented by Chris Gregory, strategic content partner, lead, Samsung TV Plus); Telstra Broadcast Services (Anna Lockwood, head of EMEA/Americas, Telstra Broadcast Services); and ATP Media (Alan Bruno, head of broadcast development, ATP Media). Click here to read Part 1.

FAST panel at Sportel: (from left) ATP Media's Alan Bruno, Samsung's Chris Gregory, Telstra Broadcast Services' Anna Lockwood, and moderator SVG's Ken Kerschbaumer

Launching a FAST service with live sports can require some controls around where it is seen, and also which sponsors are seen. Chris, can you discuss how Samsung TV handles those situations?

Gregory: FIFA Plus is a great example where we launched it in 20 countries out of our 24. If any rights holder comes to us, we do put blocks in and we appreciate that sponsors have multimillion billion dollar deals, so we'll block out any competitors. My Samsung ads team aren't always happy with that, but they understand that potentially the deals that are done at this kind of level are at this point much higher than FAST. So, we would block any competitor ads and we'd actually get introductions to the major sponsors for them so they can get their campaigns to viewers at the most relevant time and tournaments.

What do we see as the opportunity for smaller organizations and how do they get involved?

Gregory: For the smaller federations it's a great opportunity for distribution because they might not have a broadcast relationship in all of the countries, we have our service in. What we are looking for are FAST channels that resonate with a local viewer. For example, field hockey would probably work a lot better in the Netherlands as opposed to Germany. So, we review the channel, and we have managers in each country who will say, This will work, this won't work. So, for smaller federations we do more local-level deals.

Bruno: The in-between is a larger federation with perhaps smaller level tournaments that maybe don't have a TV or broadcast home. FAST could be an interesting solution for that as well.

Lockwood: And everyone has dark markets. There are a lot of conversations around where there is a rights gap, where there is a market that's dark, and where there are fans that are underserved. I think there's a big play in FAST for everyone from tier one down to niche sports or emerging sports.

Let's dive into what makes for a good FAST channel. How much content should they look to have on a weekly basis for example? How much do you have to refresh? What's that challenge?

Gregory: When I started at Samsung TV Plus four years ago, we were asking for 50 hours and 10% refresh a month. Now we're looking at 150 to 200 hours from launch plus a 25% refresh because the viewers get more sophisticated. Once they haven't got the number of hours their channel starts underperforming and that's when they start losing viewership and they start losing monetization as well. The ones with the higher hours and the higher refresh are the partners we really want on the platform.

Can you also do day parts? This feels very much like the cable landscape where at 3:00 AM the quality drops down a little bit. But if a channel's distributed globally, how do you lean into that so that dayparts line up with time zone?

Gregory: We have a compliance team that looks into all of that. Luckily that's not my job, but we try and get all partners to schedule their channels accordingly with day parts. With movie channels, for example, in the UK all 15-and-up rated films are scheduled after 9 pm. We know from the data that we see that the people who are watching are normally kids early in the morning, late at night just before they go to bed, and then the parents after that as well. We try and create a very family friendly environment because we know that it's a family environment that TV Plus is being watched by.

Lockwood: And that's also something that for us is interesting because we get asked a lot more about normalization, localization, compliance, regulations. When we first started this, those conversations were not that common but now, with the changing regulatory landscape, that's become much more critical.

Chris, what about exclusivity, having a channel that is only on Samsung TV?

Gregory: Exclusivity is something we're really pushing. DAZN FAST Plus is exclusive to Samsung TV Plus and I think it's a way of selling the service and potentially selling TVs and devices in retail. You can form stronger partnerships because it's like you are trusted with someone's brand, their rights. And you get more granular into the schedule, and you can tweak it a bit more. Exclusivity differentiates us between a very competitive marketplace as well, whether that's FAST platforms or other OEMs.

Bruno: Chris and the Samsung TV Plus team are in a position to offer a compelling exclusivity option just because of their market share. So it may be that we [at ATP Media] look at it as if we were to do
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2023/12/05/fast-channels-part-two-why-they...
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