Living in the F.A.S.T Lane

In the role of Performance Marketing Manager at Fifty Digital for the last three years, I’ve worked closely with a wide range of clients to help deliver their objectives in driving subscriptions to their OTT platforms on mobile, web and Connected TV (CTV).

While the COVID pandemic was challenging in so many facets of life, the first 18 months professionally were immensely positive, with users consuming subscription-based video content to plug periods of boredom during lockdowns. This resulted in very few people churning – the number of users that cancel or let their subscription expire.

However, in the most recent year and a half, the same types of questions have consistently emerged from clients: “how can we reduce churn rate?”; “how do we reach new audiences?”; “how do we convert new audiences without free trials or discounts?”.

With the financial uncertainty that people in the UK and across Europe are currently facing, more and more users are cancelling their OTT subscriptions. Some 23 per cent of people in the UK have removed subscriptions in the last 12 months alone*.

The next year will be key in the OTT subscription world. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up rapidly approaching in the calendar, there will likely be heavy discounts on subscriptions to try and halt any more fallout on churners. But, with reference to the regular questions from clients, are discounts sustainable or are they just a short-term fix?

Netflix, who have been suffering high-churn rates of late, recently went down the discount route, announcing the launch of an ad-supported package that is 30 per cent cheaper than their current basic plan**.

Nevertheless, it could be the rise of Free Ad Supported TV (FAST) that is the future, as audiences move away from paid subscriptions. FAST services provide users a linear and on-demandviewing experience with revenues generated through in-video ads.

We work with SportsTribal, a sports-specific FAST service that offers fans a destination to stream more than 50 TV channels on desktop, mobile and TV. We have developed and are implementing a multi-channel paid media strategy to raise awareness and grow their monthly active user base, increase CTV viewership and drive mobile app downloads, with the objective of lengthening the dwell time and volume of sports content consumed on the platform.

Not only is FAST quickly becoming a popular destination for people to consume free content instead of paid subscriptions, it is opening up new opportunities for advertisers to connect with their audiences on both mobile and the big screen. Up to 90 per cent of sports fans report that they use another second-screen device while watching TV***

With 12 per cent of people installing FAST CTV services in the last 12 months*, adding CTV into your multi-channel paid media strategy sooner rather than later will help advertisers reach more people, improve brand perception and widen the user journey.



*Connected TV: The Big Shift, LG Ads Solutions
**Sky News, Netflix To Launch Cheaper Ad Supported Option From November
***, Five Ways To Level Up Your Media Strategy During Global Sporting Events