TCL Launches FAST Services with TCLtv+ in North America
TCL has recently joined the ranks of TV manufacturers venturing into the free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) arena. On Wednesday, they unveiled TCLtv+, a free streaming service set to premiere on TCL-manufactured TVs in North America.
With a strong focus on providing complimentary entertainment, its initial rollout features an impressive lineup of over 200 FAST channels and over 1,500 on-demand movies and TV series. To bolster its offerings, TCL has partnered with major and independent studios, including Scripps Media, Fremantle, NBC Universal, FilmRise, and Banijay.
The IDEO Technology
Distinguishing itself from other platforms, TCLtv+ incorporates the “IDEO” technology. This interface is crafted to personalise the viewer’s experience, offering a fresh approach to entertainment consumption.
Beyond just content depth, IDEO technology introduces unparalleled convenience with features like interactive on-screen experiences with favourite characters and insightful actor backgrounds. Adding a touch of modernity, viewers can even order meals via voice commands and receive curated content recommendations.
Speaking about the new service, Mark Zhang, the president of TCL North America, remarked, “Being among the top two best-selling TV brands in the US for four straight years, TCL is at the forefront of innovation. We aim to consistently enhance value for our customers and, above all, deliver an unparalleled experience.
Strategic Partnerships and Diverse Offerings
To achieve this, the company has teamed up with streaming solution entities like Amagi, XUMO, Wurl, OTTera, and Future Today to ensure efficient content distribution.
Further enriching its offerings, TCL works with strategic content providers such as Brainstorm Media, Questar Entertainment, and Viva Pictures. Catering to a diverse audience, TCLtv+ “Live” will feature channels for various communities, including Hispanics, African Americans, and LGBTQ+. Moreover, the “YourTV+” segment promises a dynamic content rotation from major providers.
Haohong Wang, general manager at TCL Research America, weighed in on the development, emphasising the premium content TCLtv+ will bring to its viewers. Reiterating TCL’s vision, Wang highlighted the brand’s award-winning smart TV lineup and the transformative IDEO-enhanced viewing experience.
Regarding availability, TCLtv+ is currently accessible in the US and Canada on TCL televisions equipped with Google TV. Shortly, the service will extend to TCL TVs featuring the Roku TV and Fire TV platforms. Customers can start using it immediately as TCLtv+ comes without any subscriptions, fees, or logins, ensuring hassle-free access for all users.
The Rise of FAST Channels in the TV and Streaming Landscape
Before TCL stepped in, leading platforms had already recognised the promise of FAST, diving into it to offer enhanced entertainment and more cost-efficient services to their users. The following are some platforms that have effectively adopted FAST.
Samsung TV’s FAST Services Journey
Samsung TV, a rival to TCL, ventured into FAST services in 2016 with Samsung TV Plus. Their global channel count now exceeds 1,600.
Highlighting their growth, a study indicated a 320% YoY jump in viewing hours from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022 and a phenomenal 891% escalation in ad impressions over the same period.
LG TV’s European Expansion
Recognising the potential of FAST, LG TV initiated its services in 2019. Fast forward to 2022, and LG has multiplied its European user base threefold. LG currently offers over 150 FAST channels to its user base.
Roku’s Growth with FAST Channels
Since the emergence of FAST channels, Roku has also seen significant growth. Their financial results consistently reflect this, especially in their Q2, 2023 report, which showcased an addition of 1.9 million net active accounts, up from 1.6 million in Q1. Their total net revenue surged to $847 million, an 11% year-over-year increase.
Roku made its foray into FAST services by introducing the Roku Channel in 2017, and now features over 350 channels. Roku is working on continuous expansion and recently partnered with NBCUniversal and listed new FAST channels.
As TV brands and streaming services witness a rising trend in FAST channel adoption, it’s clear that this momentum will only continue in the upcoming years. Recent studies, including one by Amagi, underscore this growth, particularly in LATAM and American regions. Key drivers behind this surge include the allure of free content, ease of access, and a diverse content library.
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