Linear TV Channels vs. VOD Applications on Connected TV: A Strategic Guide for FAST Channel Owners

Through 2024, the television landscape will continue to shift from traditional TV to connected TV, with connected TV taking center stage. This shift marks a pivotal era, especially for Free Ad-Supported Television (FAST) channels. This comprehensive analysis explores the nuances of two broadcasting models - Linear CTV channels, and CTV VOD applications, their distinct benefits, challenges, and provides a strategic outlook on why FAST channel owners should consider embracing CTV applications.

Understanding the Landscape: Linear TV vs. VOD on CTV What are Linear TV Channels?

Linear TV adheres to a traditional broadcasting model where programs are scheduled by the channel provider, and viewers tune in at specific times. This format is ideal for live events and programs that benefit from real-time communal viewing such as news broadcasts and live sports.

Benefits of Linear TV Channels

  • Scheduled Programming: Linear TV offers a structured viewing experience, encouraging routine around favorite shows.
  • Communal Viewing: It fosters a sense of community, particularly during live events where viewers can share experiences in real-time.
  • Reliability and Familiarity: Linear TV remains accessible and reliable, especially in regions with limited internet connectivity, maintaining broad demographic appeal.

Challenges Facing Linear TV Channels

  • Limited Flexibility: Linear TV's fixed schedule can be a drawback for viewers seeking flexibility and personalization in their viewing habits.
  • Viewer Shift to On-Demand Content: As preferences shift towards on-demand viewing, Linear TV risks losing audience to platforms that offer more control and choice.
  • Technological Adaptations: Linear TV must continuously adapt to technological advancements to remain relevant, such as integrating smart features and interactive elements that compete with VOD services.

What are VOD Applications on CTV?

VOD applications provide a flexible content consumption model, allowing viewers to watch programs at their convenience without a fixed schedule. This method supports a personalized viewing experience with content available on-demand

Benefits of VOD Applications

  • Flexibility and Convenience: Viewers have the liberty to choose what and when they watch, accommodating personal schedules.
  • Extensive Content Libraries: VOD offers access to a wide array of shows and movies, including exclusive content not found on Linear channels.
  • Personalized Viewing Experiences: Advanced algorithms tailor content recommendations, enhancing user satisfaction and discovery.

Challenges Facing VOD Applications

  • Overwhelming Choices: The vast array of options available on VOD can lead to decision fatigue among viewers, making content discovery a potential issue.
  • Need for Ongoing and frequent Content Updates: To keep offerings relevant and engaging, VOD platforms must continuously update their content libraries, which demands significant resources and strategic planning.
  • Higher Consumer Expectations: The on-demand nature of VOD raises expectations for continuous content innovation and quick updates to libraries, which can be resource-intensive.

The Strategic Evolution of Linear and VOD Integration on CTV

The innovative CTV applications developed by combine linear and VOD experiences into one integrated application that simplifies access while combining the strengths of both formats—scheduled programming and on-demand content. In addition to increasing the viewability of content, this integration also makes it easier for viewers to access content, since they can view content in linear as well as on-demand formats. In a recent article, has reported a surge of 30% in Viewership With Unified Linear (FAST) and VOD Streaming Experiences.

Benefits of Integrated CTV Applications for FAST Channels

  • Unified Viewing Experience: Creates a seamless transition between live and on-demand content, boosting engagement.
  • Increased Viewership and Engagement: By catering to diverse preferences, the integrated approach maximizes viewership and broadens audience reach.
  • Monetization Opportunities: Integrated platforms enhance ad targeting capabilities, attracting more advertisers and increasing CPM rates and revenue potential.

Conclusion: Embracing the Future of Broadcasting

The transition from Linear TV to VOD applications on CTV platforms represents a fundamental shift in content consumption. For FAST channel owners, embracing CTV applications is a strategic move to tap into increased viewership and enhanced monetization opportunities. The integration of Linear and VOD not only sets new standards for content delivery but also ensures a more engaging and accessible viewing experience for global audiences. As we look towards a future dominated by on-demand and interactive experiences, the decision to adopt CTV applications is not just prudent—it's imperative for forward-thinking FAST channel owners aiming to thrive in a rapidly evolving market.