‘Curation & niche appeal’ to drive FAST uptake as sector extends appeal

Bea Hegedus

FAST execs including Vice Media’s Bea Hegedus and Samsung’s Richard Jakeman have said curation of channels and appealing to those with niche interests are key factors to ensure the market flourishes.

Hegedus, who was speaking at the DTG Summit in London, said that clear brand identity and curation were vital factors to driving growth in the FAST space.

“Without curation, FAST channels will not live,” stressed Hegedus, who oversees all distribution at Vice, which has faced a turbulent week following reports of imminent bankruptcy proceedings.

Akhila Khanna, VP of partnerships & business development at Paramount UK, further explained how curation and appealing to niches could help the rapidly emerging medium.

“FAST is really about catering for fans,” she said. “You can create these really niche channels for people who are fans and when you do get them in, the watch time per user is tremendous because you have captured that audience.”

Commenting on the rise of FAST channels, Richard Jakeman, European head of business development at Samsung, added that there had been “a broadening and acceptance” of FAST as a category “and a keenness” to be involved.

“There is an evolution and it’s moving quite quickly – the market is willing to put their assets and their rights into this space and delivery services.”

He also said partnerships with rights holders and channel owners were key, adding: “It’s a partnership with the channels and with the application partners as well. We can’t do it alone.

“We have to – and we want to – only do it with the content partners to make sure that that their content is being presented on the platform, and hopefully it’s helping drive the viewing on their channels.”

With the rise of FAST channels comes a “fight for quality”, added Gary Woolf, EVP of strategic development at All3Media International, which operates single IP channels, single genre channels and single talent channels.

“We’re trying to look beyond [FAST] being a place to put library [content],” he said, adding that his team are “trying to do creative things around that to make the real experience beyond what you’re seeing somewhere else.”

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