Fuse Media Launches Five FAST Channels in 2 Years on AWS Using AWS Partner Amagi to Distribute Globally
Fuse Media used solutions from AWS Partner Amagi Media Labs (Amagi) to launch and monetize its free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels. Fuse Media is a Latino-owned, global entertainment company that creates and distributes vibrant, purpose-driven stories and experiences. With a focus on delivering new opportunities to reach its young, culturally diverse audience, Fuse Media used solutions from Amagi—a cloud-native company that distributes over 2,000 FAST channels using Amazon Web Services (AWS)—to launch five FAST channels in the span of 2 years, thus expanding the company’s footprint within the US and abroad.
Reaching Niche Audiences of Young Adults Using FAST Channels
“We have been able to expand the Fuse Media brand to everywhere audiences want to view our content, including the rapidly growing streaming universe,” says Cesar Chavez, vice president of digital operations at Fuse Media. To reach its young, culturally diverse audience, Fuse Media decided to create several new FAST channels in addition to its linear channels.
To seize these monetization opportunities, the company needed the capacity to launch channels quickly and, with a small team, deliver all the materials to the various streaming platforms—each of which has different technical specifications. “What we needed was to find a partner that could deliver our content quickly to streaming platforms,” says Chavez. Fuse was already using AWS to host its website, and now it chose to use solutions from AWS Partner Amagi to play out its new channels. By working with Amagi, Fuse launched and monetized five new FAST channels in 2 years, increasing its audience in the United States and internationally.
Turning these channels around quickly is important because somebody else might come up with a similar idea or take that spot. Using Amagi, we turn around channels to give it to the platform in record time.”
Vice President of Digital Operations, Fuse Media
Playing Out FAST Channels from the Cloud Using AWS
FAST channels have been growing in recent years, and advertisers are investing more in these kinds of media. However, launching a FAST channel takes a lot of work. Each streaming platform has its own specs for images, files, and captions, with no standard across the board. As Fuse Media investigated how it would launch its FAST channels, other companies recommended using Amagi. “When we looked at Amagi’s tech stack, it was helpful to know that it was using a reputable company like AWS,” says Chavez. “Because these FAST channels need to be up 24/7, we need to make sure that these channels are on a service that has a lot of redundancies and security protection.”
Fuse Media began the process of building its first FAST channel in 2018 and began working with Amagi in 2020 to launch it and other channels. Amagi plays out more than 2,000 FAST and linear broadcast channels from the cloud and originated over 50 percent of all FAST channels in 2022. Amagi’s solutions are cloud native, and the business has been using AWS since it began in 2008. To deliver media streams and convert files to the correct specifications, Amagi’s solutions use services such as AWS Elemental MediaConnect, a high-quality transport service for live video, and Amazon CloudFront—a content delivery network service. Fuse Media conducted a proof of concept using Amagi and eventually adopted Amagi solutions to launch and play out all its FAST channels
Seizing Opportunity by Increasing Speed to Market and Monetization
Using Amagi’s solutions, Fuse Media launched five FAST channels between 2018 and 2022. The main service Fuse Media uses to program and distribute its content is Amagi CLOUDPORT, a cloud-based channel playout solution that can distribute video to any streaming platform with broadcast-grade quality. Fuse uses Amagi CLOUDPORT as a content management system where it uploads its media and metadata and previews its programming. Amagi CLOUDPORT is also the solution that Amagi uses to transform the content to the correct formats for each channel. “We use Amagi CLOUDPORT on a daily basis,” says Chavez. “We deliver all our content to Amagi, and then Amagi can turn that around and convert it to whatever specs each channel needs.”
Since launching its FAST channels, Fuse Media has expanded its international footprint, grown its audience significantly, and increased its total hours watched. The company’s roster of FAST channels includes Shades of Black, one of the most widely distributed Black content channels in the FAST space. Celebrating Black culture, entertainment, and lifestyle destinations—and featuring big movies and big stars—Shades of Black amassed over 1 billion minutes watched during the first half of 2023. In addition, its total minutes watched more than doubled year to year in the second quarter of 2023.
Latino Vibes, the premier English-language FAST channel that celebrates the heart and soul of Latino culture, has consistently grown every month since its December 2022 launch, with June 2023 up double digits over May.
OUTtv Proud, Fuse Media’s LGBTQ+ FAST channel created with the world’s leading LGBTQ+ streaming service OUTtv, had its best month yet in June 2023, more than doubling its total minutes over May 2023.
And finally, Backstage highlights superstars and emerging talent in a collection of music bios, performances, reality shows, and films. This channel has grown for 12 straight quarters since its second quarter of 2020 launch. The total minutes watched saw double-digit year-to-year gains in the second quarter of 2023.
“The biggest benefit is Fuse Media’s ability to punch above its weight and compete with a lot of larger media organizations to expand the business,” says Srinivasan KA, cofounder and chief revenue officer at Amagi. “The collaboration with Amagi has helped Fuse Media to get channels up and going and expand its market without having to drain the resources of the company.”
The first FAST channel that Fuse created, Backstage, took 3–4 months to launch. Now together, Fuse Media and Amagi have improved their workflows to deliver a test feed within 3 weeks and deliver the whole FAST channel in 4–6 weeks. Speed to market not only increases monetization opportunities, but it can also be the difference between selling an idea and missing an opportunity. “Turning these channels around quickly is important because somebody else might come up with a similar idea or take that spot,” says Chavez. “Using Amagi, we turn around channels to give it to the platform in record time.”
Launching the channel meant understanding the content that Fuse Media has, knowing what regions it has rights for, delivering media files in the correct formats, creating caption files, inserting graphics, inserting ad markers, and supporting various ad formats. Other larger corporations that Amagi works with involve several hundred to a few thousand people in a single channel launch. Meanwhile, Fuse Media does more with less. “When you look at a company like Fuse Media with only a couple hundred people, to quickly launch multiple channels at a time is a pretty big event,” says Srinivasan.
Fuse Media improved the monetization of its channels using Amagi services such as Amagi THUNDERSTORM, a solution for dynamic ad insertion, and Amagi ADS PLUS, a waterfall ad placement service that increases the percentage of ad spots that are filled. “We’ve been able to reach a huge audience on all these different platforms for our content, and we’ve been able to monetize it,” says Chavez.
We use Amagi CLOUDPORT on a daily basis. We don’t have the infrastructure in house to create these feeds, but we can deliver all our content to Amagi, and then Amagi can turn that around and convert it to whatever specs each channel needs.”
Vice President of Digital Operations, Fuse Media
Expanding to New International Audiences
Fuse Media continues to expand its channels to new streaming platforms, and it is already looking into using another Amagi service, Amagi CONNECT, to pitch its channels to new international markets.
“It’s not just the technology at Amagi, but it’s also the people that we work with who have been critical to this growth and success,” says Chavez. “We’ve been able to work together to get our multiple FAST channels up and running. It’s been a great collaboration so far, and we’re looking to expand it.”
About Fuse Media
Fuse Media is a Latino-owned, global entertainment company. With a portfolio of award-winning original content and a growing multiplatform footprint, the company has created a cross-platform ecosystem where everyone can see themselves represented.
AWS Services Used
- Launched 5 FAST channels in two years
- Accelerated delivery of FAST channels to 4–6 weeks
- Competes with larger media houses
About AWS Partner Amagi
Amagi Media Labs (Amagi) is a cloud-native media technology company that provides solutions to create, distribute, and monetize channels for broadcast and streaming TV globally. Amagi is an AWS Partner and supports channel delivery for over 2,000 channels in over 40 countries.
Published September 2023