The quality of internet services has taken a momentous leap forward in the past few years. The heightened call for live and on-demand content is primarily driven by two shifts: the evolution of network access technologies and the increased availability of cloud-based services. With greater democratization in content generation and distribution, there’s been an equal evolution in audience expectations. To meet the needs of all stakeholders, adding Linear FAST electronic program guides (EPG) to on-demand networks is an obvious solution.
Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) EPGs give content providers and advertisers an opportunity to create new business models. Viewers benefit from increased access to free high-quality content. While not an entirely new concept, integrating FAST EPG translates into complex video streaming app development challenges.
Since our inception, dotstudioPRO has delivered video content to apps, channels, and the best over-the-top (OTT) platforms. During this time, we’ve witnessed many apps succeed and fail. The most notable difference between the two is how content owners approach video streaming app development.
In this guide, we navigate which features you should prioritize to optimize the user experience. This will prevent you from investing your resources in complex features that don’t yield a positive return on investment (ROI).
Why On-Demand Networks Choose to Add Linear FAST Format
FAST linear industry revenue is expected to reach $4.1 billion in 2023. That’s double what it was just two years ago. In fact, with an expected 216 million monthly active users in 2023 in the US alone, the quickly expanding market has all parts of the streaming industry rethinking their business models. With the rise of FAST formats, consumers get to watch for free while content providers gain a different revenue stream.
Linear FAST programming formats can effectively mitigate two main pitfalls of on-demand services. First, choosing what to watch with online on-demand content services can be overwhelming. The abundance of shows available often creates option paralysis. But with Linear FAST formats, the channel schedules content and provides an EPG with viewing times and options. So, it’s easy to log on and start watching without spending hours simply deciding what you want to watch.
Second, video on demand (VOD) is a harder and more costly service to build and run long term. VOD streaming platforms must continuously invest in a large amount of content and cover a variety of niches.
By contrast, scheduled linear models offer techniques to optimize audience engagement. For instance, they might sandwich new or weaker shows between two popular ones, or they could connect programs by featuring two shows with the same lead actors back-to-back to maintain viewer engagement. There are a host of other techniques employed to smartly engage audiences for longer periods. Linear channels can also specialize in a certain niche rather than catering to everyone at once.
Essentials to Adding Linear FAST Channels & EPG
Before anything, it’s essential to formulate a clear vision of your app distribution and monetization strategy. Then, you need to:
- Determine how you’ll approach app development
- Acquire the tools needed to feed and manage multiple FAST channels
- Design and deliver a full EPG into your app
- Implement the correct ad tools to monetize your channels
FAST TV Streaming App Development
There are several approaches broadcasters can take with FAST TV streaming app development. Developers can get as creative as they’d like, but all FAST streaming apps require standard technology integration like video streaming CMS, management APIs, and application software development kits (SDKs).
At dotstudioPRO, we shortcut the custom development time and take a cost-effective approach to FAST Channel aggregation by designing and developing back-end APIs and front-end SDK solutions. These require minimal UX/UI and can be plugged into any existing On-Demand network no matter who it is powered by, saving customers money and time to market while they test out this new model.
On the other hand, our expert design and development team can also build out your video streaming app to your specifications. After the app launch, we can hand over maintenance to your team or partner with us to take care of the back end while you focus on your content.
Content Storage and Delivery
Choosing the right content delivery network (CDN) is a decision you need to be strategic about. This can significantly affect streaming performance and security.
DotstudioPRO allows you to manage the storage and delivery of your entire content distribution operation from a single platform. This includes managing CDN delivery of content to your app as well as to any other OTT streaming platform or virtual multichannel programming distributor (vMVPD).
Scheduling System/Playout & EPG
You can format your linear broadcast model by scheduling content and presenting it in an electronic program guide. Or create a thematic content playlist for a given time frame. This entails looping your content from one to 24 hours using a web-based playlist interface.
DotstudioPRO SDK features a multi-layer EPG to handle hundreds of channels. Viewers can watch live streams while browsing your EPG with a seven-day full program layout.
Monetization Tools and Ad Insertion Platform
When it comes to Linear FAST streaming formats, ad relevance is key to a winning strategy. When ads perform well on your content, you gain a revenue advantage because you can charge advertisers more.
The DotstudioPRO FAST Engine solution offers a robust yet flexible server-side ad insertion (SSAI) for linear channel services. This tool lets you control your own ad insertion or use your content partner’s existing streams, complete with pass-through advertising parameters. What’s more, the SSAI solution connects with top ad insertion platforms, including Amagi Thunderstorm, Wurl Ad Spring, Publica SSAI, and AWS Mediatailor.
Effortless Linear FAST EPG Integration with dPRO FAST Engine
Staying competitive in today’s streaming market means adapting your offering to meet consumer needs and adopting the most robust revenue-generating strategies. With dPRO FAST Engine, it’s easier than ever to create or add a Linear FAST EPG to your network, no matter what technology you’re using.
The complete back- and front-end solution comes with an award-winning management system. This enables publishers to manage monetization through SSAI, normalize meta-data, and accelerate app development with a RESTful API easily integrated into your existing app workflow. In addition, you can stream your content to other smart TV apps like Apple TV, IOS and Android mobile and tablet, Google Play, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Vizio, LG, Samsung, and Roku.
Request a demo today and discover how adding customizable dPRO FAST Engine technology to your existing network can help you stay competitive and generate revenue in an easy, cost-effective way.