Amazon has launched Fire TV Channels, a platform for hosting its free, ad-supported TV (FAST). This platform will be available on Amazon’s Fire TV devices starting this week. The company unveiled its release at the IAB NewFronts event and showcased a video prominently featuring Martha Stewart.
According to Amazon, they released an update for Fire TV after observing customer behavior. They noticed a growing demand for free streaming content and decided to create a new FAST home. The company based this decision on the fact that monthly viewing hours for this type of programming have increased by 300% over the last six months.
The company made an announcement during the IAB NewFronts event and released a 118-second promotional video. The video features Martha Stewart at the awards and explains that FAST channels will stream content from different categories.
Amazon’s Fire TV Channels will launch with a variety of categories including travel, local and national news, sports, music videos, lifestyle, and entertainment. The NHL, Xbox, and TMZ are among the content providers that will be featured. Additionally, titles from Condé Nast and PGA will be added at a later time.
During the summer, Fire TV will introduce a new feature called “always-on” destination. This feature will have an app-like design and provide a smoother experience for users after the establishment of the centralized FAST channels.
Although the popularity of streaming is increasing and millions of pay-TV subscribers are canceling their service each year, the FAST sector remains relatively divided due to its dispersed nature.
Amazon has added travel to their channel hub which includes local and national news, sports highlights, music videos, lifestyle, entertainment, and more. They already have 400 partners for this service.
The director of Fire TV advertising, monetization, and engagement, Charlotte Maines, stated that –
“With Fire TV Channels, we’re delivering a simple, category-based experience that makes it easy to discover what you want to watch while constantly expanding content offerings.”
She further added –
“We’ve offered some of this [FAST] content for a while for customers — we’ve helped them discover it throughout the [user interface] by having rows of content for example throughout ‘Home’ or other pages. We’ve seen that they’ve been engaging with it when we surface it in a topical way…And what we’ve seen in the past six months alone is that the monthly hours streamed of this content have grown by 300%. So we know it’s working for our customers.”
According to Maines, the updated Fire TV interface will bring together both new and existing FAST content into a more streamlined experience. This will allow users to easily access different categories, including news, sports, food and cooking, music videos, trailers, gaming videos, comedy, and more.
The news section provides access to national news and more than 330 local news channels. This week, new FAST channels from NBC and Telemundo will also be available.
With Fire TV Channels and its new features, Amazon is making it easier for viewers to access free streaming content on their devices. The company is hoping to expand its reach and customer base with the launch of this new service. It remains to be seen how these changes will affect the streaming world and customers alike.