Cusp of Streaming Disruption: Exploring The Booming FAST Channel Universe in India
Why FAST, Why Now?
Welcome to the 3rd edition of “Streaming in India”, your weekly news digest about streaming players, OTT trends and more in one of the fastest growing video markets. If you are not already a subscriber, please sign up and receive it directly in your inbox every Wednesday!
Why FAST, Why Now?
Samsung TV Plus
CloudWalker TV & Cloud TV OS
The other FAST players
The Streaming Media Guy’s View
Why FAST, Why now?
There is a lot to cover and just one newsletter will not do justice to such a vast topic, however watch this space as we will continue to share updates on various topics related to FAST - distribution, technology providers, content programming, metrics for success, localisation requirements, channel branding/marketing, business models, ROI, revenue, CPM considerations and more.
FAST OR ‘Free Ad Supported Streaming TV’ (Any linear channel on digital OR Video On Demand assets stitched together along with advertisements to create a virtual linear channel is considered “FAST”) is gaining in popularity globally and is on the rise in India as well for a few key reasons:
Growth of Connected Televisions - COVID accelerated CTV adoption and we are at approximately 35 million households approaching 60 million by 2025 (GroupM).
Subscription fatigue - unanimous view of most OTTs in India we have spoken with over the past several months.
OTT & Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) - Several content owners and rights holders are wary of the increasing costs associated with running a direct to consumer OTT service and higher CACs. Launching a FAST channel is a cheaper alternative and an effective way to test the streaming market outside of social.
Broadband penetration - 32 million connections, with steady growth since early March 2022, when it was at 27 million (GroupM).
India is primarily an AD supported market - most research studies show that an overwhelming majority are willing to watch ads in return for free content.
FAST brings in the comfort of traditional broadcast within the streaming landscape - there are times that we just want to sit back, relax and not worry about what show to pick and on which subscription service.
With rising disposable income, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, India, is poised to see greater adoption of better technology, connectivity & larger screens by viewers.
Ad $ follow the viewers and naturally larger screen sizes command a significantly better CPM as compared to mobile phones - current estimates are $2 - $3 CPM on CTVs for video ads, thereby offering content owners a significant revenue upside.
Samsung TV Plus
Launched in 2021, this innovative FAST service and app offers consumers of Samsung Smart televisions free TV content, with ad-supported select live channels and on-demand videos, with no additional device such as a set top box. To access the service, all that the consumers need is a Samsung Smart TV (2017 model onwards) and an internet connection.
With the introduction of Samsung TV Plus, consumers get instant access to exciting content across genres such as news, lifestyle, technology, gaming and science, sports and outdoors, music, movies and bingeable shows, without any subscription.
Samsung TV Plus will also be available on most Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablet devices. The TV Plus app can be downloaded from both, Samsung Galaxy Store and Google Play Store.
Infotainment: Discovery, Discovery HD, Animal Planet, Animal Planet HD, Discovery Science, Discovery Tamil, Xplore, Real Wild, Jack Hanna, Weather Spy, InWonder, InWild, Wildearth
Movies: The Movie Club, Pitaara, Dabangg, Magellan TV Now, Film Stream, Sofy.tv, Hollywire, South Station, Best Action TVs, Bhojpuri Cinema
Music: Mastiii, Maiboli, Qwest TV, Balle Balle, 9X Music, 9X Jalwa, 9X Tashan, 9X Jhakaas
Lifestyle: TLC, TLC HD, Discovery Turbo, Infast, People are awesome, Real Life, History Hit, Wonder, GoUSA TV, Don't Tell The Bride, Fashion TV, Gusto TV, Tastemade, NDTV GoodTimes, Heritage, HD Travel, Cook & Bake, Sadhguru
News: Republic TV, Republic Bharat, Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Originals, Aaj Tak, India Today, Good News Today, NDTV India, NDTV 24X7, NDTV Profit, Zee 24 Taas, Zee 24 Kalak, WION, Zee News, Zee Business, ABP News, ABP Majha, ABP Ganga, ABP Asmita, ABP Sanjha, ABP Ananda, Times Now Navbharat, Zee 24Ghanta
Entertainment: Investigation Discovery, ID HD, The Q, Q Marathi, Real Crime, The Q, FailArmy, The Pet Collective, Nosey, Real Stories, Korean TV, Dangal TV, Enterr10 Bangla
Sports and Outdoor: Eurosport, Eurosport HD, Tennis Channel, MavTV Motosport Network, InTrouble, Motorvision, Boxing TV, Fight TV, Prime Fight HD, Billiard TV, Q Gamex, FIFA+
Kids: Discovery Kids, The Q Kahaniyan, Toon Goggles, Baby First, Beani TV, Hooray Rhymes
CloudWalker TV & Cloud TV OS
Established in 2013, CloudWalker is a home-grown tech start-up focused on creating digital solutions to harness the power of internet on large format screens.
They sell their CloudWalker TV brand along with a cutting edge Cloud TV OS which is licensed to large TV manufacturers such as Intex, Micromax, Videocon, Akai, Croma, Lloyd, Sansui, Hyundai, Amstrad etc.
Some of the FAST channels available on CloudWalker TV and CloudTV OS include the TV9 Network, India TV Network, Dangal Network, Divya TV, Pitaara, Enterr10 Bangla, TheQ, Sadhguru, Aljazeera, Bhojpuri Cinema, Boonie Cubs TV, Smurf TV, DuckTV, TG Junior, Toon Goggles, Party Tyme Karaoke, Motorvision, HappiTV, AfroLandTV, SKWAD, Cooking Panda, & Crema TV. In addition, Distro TV India is also available on their OS offering more than 150+ FAST channels to users.
The other platforms
Redmi Smart TV
Streaming Media Guy’s View
The FAST universe presents a fantastic opportunity for content owners, platform aggregators and audiences to co-create another consumption medium for engaging viewing windows which India actually has been used to for years - we just did not call it FAST then and times have evolved with technology innovation + advertising, offering another exciting option for streamers. Once a FAST channel is created, content owners have the option of distributing it to FAST platforms, Connected Television manufacturers and brands, Telcos, OR stream it along with an electronic program guide on their own direct to consumer platform - all with the aim of maximising reach & revenues. The big opportunities lie with content owners who can think outside the box and stitch together videos and create single IP based FAST channels - think of a “Taarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashmah” FAST channel as an example.
That’s all for today folks. If you enjoyed this breakdown, please share it with your friends and colleagues!
I hope everyone has a great festive week and see you online next Wednesday. For those seeking to invoke their inner devotee, go ahead and check out the Lalbaugcha Raja Song 2023 music video - a harmonious tribute to the beloved deity Ganesha, Lalbaugcha Raja. It is one-of-a-kind spectacle, starring 150 Mumbai dabbawalas.
Streaming in India is a weekly newsletter exploring the trends that matter to streaming professionals in India. If you are not already a subscriber, sign up and join several others who receive it directly in their inbox every Wednesday.
Interested in advertising with The Streaming Lab? Email me.
I also work with streaming services, content creators, platform providers or media consultants and help them diversify their revenues. Contact me here.