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FAST Friends #8: BBC Studios' Beth Anderson on the evolution of TV consumption, FAST channel strategies and the importance of innovation

GM and SVP of FAST and VOD at BBC Studios, Beth Anderson, sat down with the FASTMaster Gavin Bridge to discuss the FAST business.

Long-time readers of The FASTMaster know about the dark period a year ago, where under pain of being fired at Variety I was only allowed to keep writing here solely with excerpts from my FAST articles at VIP+. Like any good FASTMaster, I took the real stuff underground, and today’s guest, Beth Anderson, coined the name for the detailed, invite-only newsletter where the good stuff still happened - FAST Friends.

That became the name of the podcast series we had long discussed but again, had to wait to be clear of Variety to do. So it was a great pleasure to be able to welcome Beth onto the show as we discussed the beauty of FAST. If you’re reading this because you found the phrase “Is FAST the same as TV?” well take a listen as Beth eloquently notes the differences between the two formats even if both are linear (and often based on shows).

The conversation can be summarized as follows and is well worth a listen!

  1. FAST Industry Growth & Challenges: Gavin Bridge and Beth Anderson highlight the growth of FAST channels and the challenges in tracking them due to varying audience engagement methods. They emphasize the potential for demographic-specific services, underscoring the importance of audience engagement and time spent on content.

  2. Value of Curated Content: The conversation underscores the value of curated content and the need for a diverse range of channels to cater to different interests and moods, highlighting the role of curation in enhancing viewer experience.

  3. BBC's Successful Strategies & Future Trends: Anderson discusses BBC's successful strategies with FAST networks, emphasizing innovation and relevance. She notes the popularity of single and dual series channels, suggesting advertisers leverage ad-supported media for greater reach.

  4. Coexistence of Consumption Models: Anderson highlights the coexistence of linear, VOD, and FAST models in the evolving television consumption landscape. She concludes with the flexibility of FAST networks in creating moment-specific content and BBC's adaptability in embracing new technologies.