Notable amid Charter Communications' much scrutinized carriage deal with Disney recently was the omission of smaller traditional basic cable networks including Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo.
Amid a smaller pay TV ecosystem with increased customer choice, operators no longer have room on their grids to pay licensing fees for smaller niche basic cable channels.
But the big bundle isn't necessarily shrinking, with FAST channels operating at lower cost margins requiring no additional programming fees to the distributor, rushing in to fill the void. Operators can bloat their bundles anew with these channels without bloating the monthly customer bill.
Consider DirecTV Stream's announcement Monday. The virtual MVPD is adding two more Tastemade-branded lifestyle channels, Tastemade Home and Tastemade Travel, along with Portuguese action-sports channel Fuel TV, New York-based fantasy-sports betting outlet SportsGrid, and Fox TV Stations-developed, African-American-targeted entertainment channel Fox Soul.
The channels will be distributed on a non-license-fee basis, according to a source familiar with the deal, expanding the ad-sales reach of the programmers and bolstering the lineup of the operator. And this will be one of many FAST additions DirecTV Stream will announce in the near-term future, as the vMVPD builds a new "big bundle" based on what it believes is a more economically sustainable programming model.
"DirecTV Stream customers are in for a treat with Tastemade Home and Tastemade Travel arriving in their program guides alongside our flagship food channel," said Evan Bregman, Tastemade's GM of streaming. "We’re excited to expand our partnership with DirecTV as they evolve their content strategy, and to provide fresh, engaging, and distinctive home and travel content that combines entertainment and utility and sets us apart in the industry,"
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!