2024-05-06 Shiv Sehgal

The Rise of FAST Channels

Navigating the Challenges for Rights Management Systems

The television industry is undergoing a significant transformation with the emergence of Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels. These Streaming Services that are accessed via a linear stream and through an on-screen channel guide, blend the familiarity of traditional TV with the accessibility of digital streaming, are reshaping the media landscape and presenting new challenges for rights management systems.


The FAST Channel Boom

FAST channels have experienced a meteoric rise in recent years. The FAST platforms available to consumers can be segmented into three broad types: Those available on specific smart TVs (i.e. Samsung TV+); those on specific connected devices (Roku Channel); and those on a multitude of TVs and devices (i.e. Pluto and Peacock).

Platforms like Pluto TV, Peacock, Tubi, and Xumo have attracted millions of viewers by offering a diverse array of free, ad-supported content. The allure of cost-free access and the nostalgia of a lean-back viewing experience have made FAST channels a compelling alternative to subscription-based streaming services. Simultaneously, FAST is a growing and developing distribution platform to maximize audience reach and advertising revenues for media companies who are battling the pressures of declining traditional linear viewership and ad spend.

As the FAST market continues to grow, with projections suggesting it will overtake subscription models by 2030, content owners and distributors are eager to capitalize on this opportunity. However, the unique characteristics of FAST channels present a new set of challenges for rights management.


Complexities in Content Licensing

One of the primary challenges posed by FAST channels are the complexities around content investment, content licensing and content windowing . Unlike traditional TV or subscription-based streaming, FAST channels often rely on a mix of licensed content from multiple sources and originals (including live). This can include your own original IP and  movies, TV shows, and original programming from various studios and content creators.

Managing the rights and permissions for this diverse content library requires a robust and flexible rights management system. Content owners must ensure they have the necessary licenses and clearances for each piece of content and derivative assets, considering factors such as geographic restrictions, usage rights, exclusivity and expiration dates.


Ad Revenue Sharing and Reporting

Another key challenge for rights management in the FAST channel ecosystem is the distribution of ad revenue. FAST channels generate revenue through the insertion of dynamic and contextual advertising, which is then shared between the content owner, the distribution platform, and other stakeholders.

Tracking and reporting on ad revenue can be complex, especially when content is distributed across multiple FAST platforms. Rights management systems need to be able to accurately attribute revenue to the appropriate content owners and provide transparent reporting on viewership and ad impressions.


Protecting Intellectual Property

As with any digital distribution model, FAST channels also face the challenge of protecting intellectual property from unauthorized use or piracy. Content owners need to ensure that their valuable assets are secure, and that access is limited to authorized users.

Digital rights management (DRM) technologies play a crucial role in safeguarding content on FAST channels. DRM systems can encrypt content, control access, and prevent unauthorized copying or distribution. However, implementing effective DRM while maintaining a seamless user experience can be a delicate balance.


Adapting Rights Management Systems

To navigate the challenges posed by FAST channels, rights management systems need to evolve and adapt. These systems must be able to handle the complexities of content licensing, ad revenue sharing, and intellectual property protection in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.



The rise of FAST channels presents both opportunities and challenges for the television industry. As viewers embrace this new model of content consumption, rights management systems must keep pace to ensure that content owners can effectively monetize their assets while protecting their intellectual property.

Companies like RSG Media offer advanced rights management solutions tailored to the needs of the media and entertainment industry. Their RSG Rights platform provides a centralized system for managing rights across multiple dimensions, including media, territory, networks, platforms, devices, and venues. With real-time avails reporting and support for both hierarchical and non-hierarchical assets, RSG Rights enables media companies to efficiently manage and monetize their content in the FAST channel era.

By investing in robust and adaptable rights management solutions, content owners can navigate the complexities of the FAST channel landscape and position themselves for success in this rapidly evolving market. The future of television is undoubtedly exciting, and those who can effectively manage their rights will be well-positioned to thrive in this new era of streaming.