Emotional resonance drove 40% increase in QSR visits for PMG

Best Practices to Improve the FAST Viewer Experience

Advanced Graphics
Live Operations
Scheduling Service

As a child of the ’80s I was a huge fan of side ponytails, Bubble Tape, and Where’s Waldo? books. Though the first two fads are sadly a thing of the past, Where’s Waldo? is pretty pertinent to the FAST channel space. I’ll explain. For those who don’t know, Waldo is a cartoon-like fellow and the main character in a children’s book that features busy, colorful pictures. The challenge is you must find Waldo in all the madness, sporting his famous red-striped shirt and black-rimmed glasses. 

Much like Waldo’s world, the FAST TV frontier is colorful, bright, and becoming very crowded with multiple streaming platforms now offering over 300 channels. That means content publishers – like Waldo – need to stand out and stay ahead of the cord-cutting trend.

Waldo sometimes held an umbrella, ate a pizza, or stood next to an interesting landmark. Just enough to draw him out from the crowd. What can publishers leverage to do the same? There are three key things that can get you noticed: 

  1. Incorporate advanced graphics
  2. Offer live content 
  3. Use a professional scheduling service to optimize your content

Advanced Graphics

One of the easiest and most effective ways to deliver a broadcast-quality viewing experience on a FAST channel is with Advanced Graphics. Advanced Graphics help engage viewers and increase brand awareness across programming utilizing broadcast-grade overlays.

Guide & Brand 

My pet peeve is turning on the TV and not knowing what I’m watching. If I don’t enter the program from the guide, it can feel like being dropped in the middle of the ocean without a way to get back to the beach. Dramatic, I know. But, having no compass for your viewer can certainly lead to a quick channel change. Advanced Graphics helps increase viewership and engagement by reminding audiences about current and future programming while encouraging them to keep watching your channel. If viewers don’t like what’s on now, they might like what’s on in a few minutes… so they’re willing to stick around.

For news organizations, a graphics package can feature the latest headlines on screen during your linear broadcast. This keeps your audience engaged because they know your channel brings them engaging information, which will likely keep them tuned in for more updates.

And we can’t forget about the bugs! Channel bugs are the polish that just about every TV network needs. They facilitate brand recognition and awareness that viewers are accustomed to on traditional television. 

Generate Incremental Revenue

With FAST ad revenues poised to generate more than $4.1 billion in 2023, Advanced Graphics can be used to deliver new monetization opportunities. With the option to display “sponsored by” graphics on screen, content publishers can offer advertisers new real estate for sponsorships, ultimately growing their revenue streams.

Live Operations

Live content, namely sports and news, is on the rise in the FAST market. In fact, the fastest-growing FAST genre in 2022 was news, which saw a 69% increase throughout the year. Sports came in second with a 41% increase, beating out movies (39%) and general entertainment (32%). Those same genres also attract viewers reaching audiences not watching traditional cable TV.

The ability to go live for entertainment, sports, and news events improves the viewership experience and increases engagement by providing audiences with timely information and real-time entertainment. Plus, similar to broadcast TV, live sports content on FAST can command premium ad pricing compared to other genres.

Broadcast & Streamline 

Broadcasting live events used to be a very heavy experience. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting in a satellite truck or taking in a feed in Master Control, you’ve seen how much gear and people power is required. Streaming live for FAST is a much lighter experience via the internet, especially when using a platform, like Wurl. With Live Operations,  publishers can easily switch between a linear schedule and a live event without the need for engineering support or complex workflows. Simply send us your stream and we will show you how to operate, distribute, and monetize live events easily and securely. 

Live Operations streamlines the overhead needed to execute a live broadcast, with virtually none of the associated risk of managing live events. However, we’re there when you need us. Wurl’s highly-trained Network Operations Center team (NOC) will ensure all live events go smoothly. 

Scheduling Service

If you have a robust content library, taking the leap into the FAST space may seem daunting. Questions swirl about where to start, how to deliver your content, and how to set up your first lineup. That’s where Wurl’s Scheduling Service can step in and make that leap feel more like a hop. The Scheduling Service is run by our Programming Strategy Team, which includes veteran broadcast experts that leverage tools to easily create, manage, and optimize FAST channel programming to grow and monetize audiences. 

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Utilizing Wurl’s Managed Scheduling Service has allowed Rights Booster to scale our FAST channel business rapidly. With their expert team handling content ingestion and schedule optimization, I can focus on growing our channel portfolio, streamer distribution, and advertising revenue.
Mark Benmore,
CEO & Founder, Rights Booster

Worry-Free Channel Operations

Whether you’re new to linear programming or looking to “hand over the keys” to streamline your internal process,  Wurl’s team of experts will handle everything from content ingestion, to creating EPG playlists, and programming optimal ad loads to effectively monetize FAST channels. The Programming Strategy Team will also coordinate channel launches with streamers, such as Roku, Samsung, and Vizio, to ensure each channel adheres to all of their requirements.

Data-Driven Content Optimization

The Programming Strategy Team not only uses Wurl’s Data Portal to optimize channel programming, but also has access to our unique “Data Insights” when setting programming lineups. Data Insights contains behavioral, demographic, geographic location, and comparative data on viewers within the Wurl FAST network. This data allows them to see how each channel stacks up against other channels in related genres, how much viewer overlap there is, what viewers’ interests are, and if there are any watch patterns by streamer or daypart that can be used to optimize programming. That’s smart scheduling!

As content publishers trim the fat in their programming budgets this year, these metrics can be incredibly useful in determining what works best. By knowing what content viewers like and have not yet watched within your library, the Scheduling Service Team can make cost-effective programming decisions by surfacing content the audience hasn’t seen before. This exclusive data gives FAST channels on Wurl’s network the edge on the competition by enabling the team to optimize each channel’s programming for user growth and monetization. 

Key Takeaways

Incorporating slick graphics, live content, and smart scheduling are great ways to get noticed, retain viewers, and monetize. These tools are offered as add-ons to Wurl Global FAST Pass, one of the industry’s simplest, most efficient solutions to launching FAST channels. It’s all part of how Wurl is helping content publishers improve the viewing experience across the FAST ecosystem… ensuring your content stands out above the rest.

To learn more about these features, please reach out to a Wurl account representative.

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