Right now, one of the fasting growing markets in cord cutting is free ad-supported streaming services. These services offer a huge collection of live and on-demand programing with ads. Some of the leaders right now include Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Freevee, Tubi, Crackle, and many more.
Though there is a major issue growing for them, and it is the increasingly confusing marketing strategy of FAST.
The problem these free services are experiencing is poor branding. Just like how PlayStation Vue confused many into thinking they needed a PlayStation when they didn’t, many customers are being confused by the FAST branding many services are now using.
FAST stands for free ad-supported streaming service. Recently many free services have just started to market themselves to the general public as a FAST service without any explanation of what that means. That is an excellent name for everyone in the industry and for those who closely follow it, but the average American has no idea what a FAST service is.
It is a common mistake in marketing to assume that because you and the people you work with know what something means, the average American will also know that. PlayStation Vue was once one of the largest streaming services on the market with a dedicated following, but confusion over its name kept many away and helped Hulu and YouTube TV pass it by.
Now confusing branding threatens to hurt free ad-supported services in the same way that PlayStation Vue’s name hurt its growth. At the end, PlayStation Vue spent much of its advertising trying to communicate the idea that you didn’t need a PlayStation to watch PlayStation Vue. That was ad money that could have been used for all the service had to offer. Instead, they needed to explain the name to confused customers.
As cord cutting is expanding and a growing number of new American Households become cord cutters it will be very important to keep the messaging simple and direct. Marketing should avoid industry terms like FAST, vMVPD, and others that are well-known inside the industry but the average American does not understand.