Kapang, a Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (vMVPD) broadcasts content and channels with a format similar to that of cable and satellite TV but delivered over public internet.
Kapang working with its sister companies BroadcastCDN & Cloudie playout has an ambitious roadmap to provide a dynamic audience experience, provide higher revenues for content owners, by providing an approach to content creation, delivery, and consumption.
“Kapang now has over 600 feeds with 400+ channels broadcasting globally and is growing at pace, especially as it now offers to redistribute channels to third party platforms with the same viewing experience and revenue tools with no additional fixed costs or connector fees” said Jamie Branson, Founder of Kapang.
Kapang has built a name for itself by understanding that TV viewer demands have not changed but the way they view TV and the way it is delivered has changed in definition and convivence. Kapang has tracked the explosive growth of Free Ad-supported Streaming Television (FAST) or vLinear channels that have disrupted traditional broadcast and cable TV providers.
 This paper defines a FAST service as a provider of free TV channels that sometimes ‘look like’ traditional / cable television but often without the same viewer experience. These are called virtual linear (vLinear) because they are not often “managed or scheduled” like traditional TV. They are simply created using a playlist of VOD assets & lack the ‘depth and maturity’ of metadata in traditional / cable TV.
Our research has shown that the vLinear disruption has been at the expense of audience experience, with degraded broadcast quality and an unstructured viewing experience so the vLinear output does not compare with what viewers have experienced with traditional television services. Another drawback of vLinear is that technology companies took the place of networks enabling FAST channels but without the traditional television compliance and layered business model, putting content companies at the bottom of the ‘revenue pyramid’ where it is difficult to receive a sustainable return on investment. This disruption has resulted in a lack of investment in new content and channels primarily using the FAST model.
There is a desire on the part of traditional cable networks to become involved in FAST as the Comcast / Xumo and Viacom / Pluto purchases and other investments prove. However, there is a lack of major network presence in FAST, because the business model is not currently sustainable for premium brands outside of network television. Part of the reluctance is that network television provides brands and advertisers with a known format that is measured and reported on where 100% of the ad revenue is paid all within a compliance framework. In FAST, there is little agreement on the advertising and tech terms used, and limited compliance outside the tech companies own policies. Critically, there is an expectation that the network would need to revenue share and without a compliance framework or agreed measurements standards.
To provide networks, brands, advertiser and vLinear content and channel owners with a proven alternative to FAST as it is currently broadcast, the Kapang team have released their proven approach combining the traditional cable viewing experience, a successful FAST technology and revenue generation stack supported by a sustainable business model. This approach adds the efficiencies of FAST with the viewing experience of cable and satellite TV, while conforming to defined standards. The result entices mainstream viewers, and most importantly, enables networks, brands, advertiser and vLinear content and channel owners to fully yield and maximise revenues.
The Kapang approach is called FAST 2.0. The approach introduces the missing element that will attract traditional broadcasters to FAST. The missing element is a standard, and compliance to that standard.
Fundamentally, FAST 2.0 ensures that the roles, responsibilities, processes and compliance activities that are the norm in traditional TV have been converged with the efficiencies of internet-enabled broadcast delivery.
Currently the technical and revenue generation responsibilities are often provided by several tech service providers with a bootstrapped solution. Kapang has reduced the embedded technical constraints, providing a coordinated roadmap to hand back time and resources for reinvestment in content and curation through the FAST 2.0 Standard.
FAST 2.0 brings back the activities that have existed for many years in traditional TV ensuring programmes and channels are scheduled with a traditional clock format, appropriately monitored, conforming advert break-patterns, continuity in its format, and that is distributed in a uniform way. These activities are the norm for network broadcasters but are very often absent across the existing FAST landscape. Our research shows that most FAST channel owners are unaware of ‘revenue constraining’ problems in their origin feeds as they are often unmonitored and they receive limited data or results from technical partners and platforms.
FAST 2.0 provides predictability and confidence, which is needed for premium inventory so that advertisers will invest enabling revenue per minute viewed (rpmv) to levels of traditional broadcast. This will provide a sustainable business case for live sports, live news, live events, and premium entertainment on Connected TV, all are which are watching from afar until the industry aligns with their requirements.FAST 2.0 allows advertisers to buy premium spots with full predictability without having to sit in a public auction for every advert trade. Traditional TV buyers want to buy audience as a demographic weeks in advance with confidence these premium trades provide channels with great yield, not take part in an auction to find out it their campaign delivered less than they expected due to a product launch via programmatic.
“Kapang identified a revenue shortfall of between 7% and 65% across a sample of 82 channels during the last 13 weeks, all of which are easily fixed with the Kapang FAST 2.0 approach” said Jamie Branson, “When the channels were informed of the issues, they were shocked and stated that nobody had previously pointed these out” JAMIE BRANSON, FOUNDER OF KAPANG
View TV Group owns the Kapang vMvPD platform, Cloudie TV, a full-stack broadcast tech including broadcast-grade playout and private CDN, and an ad agency to monetise content, which are all under the same management so that there are no gaps in responsibility for the end-to-end broadcast and monetisation solution.
Our FAST 2.0 approach is open source, non-exclusive and available to anyone that are currently using existing scheduling technology and ad serving providers, on any platform, to increase audiences and revenues. Kapang provides the FAST 2.0 approach to all existing and new channels on Kapang to increase channel revenues and provide the highest quality experience for its viewers.
FAST 2.0 can be adopted by any business and is available to any content or channel owner that wants to evaluate their current feed to establish whether their revenue yield is maximised. “Our aim is to invest our learning, experience and the FAST 2.0 approach in content companies so that they receive a fair and sustainable share of the gross revenues from the convergence of FAST with its efficiencies and traditional TV with its compliance. We are keen to empower content companies by sharing our approach and thereby giving viewers a better experience.” Jamie added.
To find out and learn more logon to https://kapang.com/the-FAST 2.0-approach/ and engage with the team to find out how you can benefit from adopting the approach.
The FAST 2.0 Approach – Overview
The FAST 2.0 Approach provides the audience what they are used to but using the efficiencies of technology to provide the “TV Anywhere” convenience to the audience whilst simultaneously delivering higher yielding returns for content owner.
The FAST 2.0 Specifications document is available from Kapang and will soon be launched as an alliance approach to recruit and enable channels to use the approach across the television landscape.
The FAST 2.0 approach is more obvious to traditional broadcaster as they are already regulated, but we have added additional digital steps to align the two industry approaches.
Below is a 10-step checklist which can be applied to all existing channels using the specification:
1. Broadcast Continuity – The FAST 2.0 Approach
The channel should have a recognised and consistent format.
2. Branding & Identity – The FAST 2.0 Approach
The channel should have a static or animated logo/bug in the corner to identify the channel being viewed, this not only demonstrates what is currently being watching but also shows that the channel is live scheduled and differentiates it from lower quality vLinear playlist competitors.
Additional branding bumpers that are positioned at the beginning and end of all ad-breaks will continue to demonstrate and enforce your brand using a “you are watching this channel” creative, securing repeat viewers.
3. Programme Guide (EPG) – The FAST 2.0 Approach
All programmes should preferentially start on the hour or half hour or at worst on a number divisible by 10. This is a process that has been used for nearly a century and deserves the term, “do not re-invent the wheel”. The audience has not changed and viewers globally recognise the simplicity of structured scheduling, this is fundamentally what the viewers identified as the difference between broadcast TV and online video.
4. Break-Pattern – The FAST 2.0 Approach
The break pattern should follow a traditional 4 breaks per hour and provide global continuity with a 2–3-minute ad break length providing no less than 8 minutes and preferably no more than 12 minutes of ad inventory per hour. This predictability and continuity provides networks, brands and advertisers confidence to pay premium revenues for advertising space.
Having an ad break of 2:15 seconds will more than likely only see 2 minutes filled, wasting 15 seconds per break, most high paying adverts are 30 or 60 seconds so the ad breaks should allow for multiples of these blocks.
With the added bonus of addressable audiences, advertisers have the ability to market addressably sending different adverts based on the location, device and time of day the viewer is watching. For addressable advertising to maximise the format of the advertising breaks should be preset and as consistent as possible.
Based on 100,000 hours of viewing per month each minute of advertising is worth at least $2,000 and can yield to more than $4,000. As an example if your channel runs 12 minutes rather than 8 minutes of ads per hour you will be generating an additional $8,000 in revenue, yet a lot of channels researched were delivering less than 6 minutes per hour when they thought they were delivering 12 minutes.
To allow for lack of continuity in programmatic ads being provided, we specify an additional 2 seconds to act as a tolerance band to make sure there is opportunity to fill 100% breaks presented in the event the adverts are not accurately cut to size.
2min ad break = 120secs + 2secs tolerance = 122 secs
2.5min ad break = 150secs + 2secs tolerance = 152 secs
3 min ad break = 180secs + 2 secs tolerance = 182 secs
5. Break-transition – The FAST 2.0 Approach
FAST generally has abrupt and incorrectly timed ad breaks, this annoys the viewer as it breaks the viewing experience as YouTube learned in its early years. YouTube now searches new content for a scene change and their AI provides an acceptable point to insert ads normally based around a black fade or camera change, we insist that each ad break is formally identified to the audience in the scheduling.
We insist that each ad break in the content should have a transition in the content such as “end of part 1” rather than a hard cut. All breaks should fade to black for 3-4 seconds to allow the technology to cut and reinsert yielding ad breaks and providing a consistent viewing experience that traditional broadcast is known for.
This transition has a higher chance of the audience watching the ad break without them changing channels due to the traditional professional experience.
6. Content Composition – The FAST 2.0 Approach
Content that is added to the channel should be reviewed and edited to remove watershed breaches, add a clear definition on the break transition and break pattern within the mezzanine file. All media management work will also add value to AVOD workflows and well as additional linear channels and provides a high value viewing experience.
Cutting the content down to a specific size can aid in the speed of scheduling and avoid having to stitch in promotional videos and fillers to comply the EPG.
7. GEO Versioning – The FAST 2.0 Approach
Scheduling a channel once and delivering it globally into different time zones with the same origin clock does provide a simpler and cheaper way of deliver a channel globally but it provides an awful experience to the viewer.
Prime-time scheduling opportunities are impossible to align and therefore the key revenue hours per country are missed.
If the content is globally licenced a time shifted EPG and origin feed works much better for localised viewer experience, or in the event of different content licencing, scheduling independent channel versions from the same content library can pay significant dividends for little additional effort.
8. Monitoring & Reporting – The FAST 2.0 Approach
Monitoring and reporting come hand in hand, unfortunately reporting is often too late in identifying problems, so having live and preview monitoring can highlight problems that will happen in the future or are happening now for immediate response and damage limitation. Immediate response requires immediate notification and reporting which not all technology platforms have access to. Kapang reports all errors irrespective of the origin playout provider.
Reporting the number of viewing hours, when large audience changes were experienced and the value of the advertising per hour are all helpful in scientifically building a successful channel using historic data for decision making.
e.g. If a James Bond movie added 50% of revenue for 2 scheduled hours, you know you need more James Bond movies.
9. Marketing & Distribution – The FAST 2.0 Approach
Marketing and distribution of the channel is a strategy which for FAST channels is sometimes diluted or avoided. By simply adding a channel to several platforms to “be everywhere all of the time” does not always give a positive growth. The viewers will tend to go for a brand they recognise or have heard of before, so brand and content marketing are key across social media, the channel’s website and internally on the platforms to provide a noticeable uplift in viewers.
Brand driven channels perform exponentially higher with similar content, social media and direct marketing are very important in pushing a new brand or lifting an existing brand into the broadcast industry.
10. Content Selection – The FAST 2.0 Approach
Finally, content selection is important, free content does not always provide the highest yield for the associated effort. Make sure that the content is recognised or appreciated by comparing viewing figures for similar productions on YouTube or other video platforms.
Content at a higher mezzanine audio and video quality is going to be viewed for longer than lower quality content as it is appreciated more by audiences.
To find out and learn more engage with the team via the contact form to find out how you can benefit from adopting the approach.