Google Launch NightIn Three-color Chromecast TV device appears during a virtual event … [+] Seen on a laptop computer in Tiskilwa, Illinois, USA, on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. Alphabet’s Google has launched a new Chromecast TV device in an attempt to prevent Amazon from continuing to gain market share in smart home spaces.Photographer: Daniel Acker / Bloomberg
2020 Bloomberg Finance LP
Google may be aiming to make the connected TV platform even more attractive to cord cutters.
The protocol reported that the company plans to add a free live TV channel to Google TV. Google TV is a streaming TV operating system added to the updated Chromecast dongle released last year. The publication writes that Google has had a shipping discussion with a company that distributes free ad-supported streaming television channels known in the television industry as the FAST channel.
This can be good news for the FAST channel. As more and more Americans continue to disconnect their cords on traditional cable and satellite TV, the FAST channel offers a live TV experience not normally found on streaming platforms at no additional cost.
In a sense, FAST TV providers are increasing their market share by persuading users to download free apps and integrating the platform directly into streaming set-top boxes.
FAST TV providers are everywhere, including Roku’s Roku Channel, Amazon Fire TV’s IMDbTV, NBCUniversals Peacock, ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV, and Fox Corporation’s Tubi. Some of these channels run first on major broadcast networks or feature repackaged content with specific show themes, such as the Peacocks Today All Day channel.
This March 14, 2019, Pluto TV photo ads will appear on the subway wall … [+] New York station. Pluto is unusual in that it also offers dozens of channels with live video. Some of these are pretty niches dedicated to Minecraft and cats, but the service is owned by Viacom, so you can also get shows from well-known Viacom networks such as MTV and Comedy Central. (AP photo / Talia Bell)
Google may have spoken to many of the channel providers that can be found on these other platforms. The protocol reported that these livestreaming channels could arrive on Google TV this fall, but the company may postpone the announcement until early 2022. If postponed, the announcement may be made in collaboration with Google’s smart TV partners.
The major media companies that own and operate broadcast networks employ live TV services that deliver FAST channels. ViacomCBS acquired Pluto TV for $ 340 million in January 2019, and Fox acquired Tubi for $ 440 million in March 2020. NBCUniversal, whose parent company is cable giant Viacom, has integrated live TV channels into a free version of its streaming platform Peacock.
Despite being owned by these major media companies, the FAST streaming platform does not have a mainline broadcast or cable channel to avoid competition with major cable and satellite providers.
Unlike traditional cable networks, FAST channels often do not collect shipping charges from distributors. Instead, FAST channels rely on advertising revenue, which can grow as it is more widely distributed. Fox, ViacomCBS, or NBCUniversal have created platform-specific FAST channels, often featuring intellectual property from the network. In other cases, an independent media company distributes the channel to different platforms.
One advantage in Google’s hands is that these FAST channels are available on the latest version of Google TV.[ライブ]It can be natively integrated into tabs. Currently, only YouTube TV and Dish Networks Sling TV services are compatible with this feature.
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