It has been a very, very rough couple of months for streaming content, marked by the cancellation of a ton of projects, even those that were already filmed or received critical acclaim. Westworld, HBO’s once-heralded sci-fi western series, was one of the early victims of the streaming reduction, and it looked like those who didn’t own physical copies of the show might not ever be able to see it again. However, all is not lost. Warner Bros. Discovery has struck deals with Roku and Tubi to bring multiple shows to their FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) channel services, including Westworld and Raised by the Wolves for either or both platforms.
When the removal of Westworld and other HBO Max shows was announced, it was already rumored that the series would be moving to FAST platforms as the industry looks to these services as money makers that can bring in consistent revenue without the ups and downs of pulling in subscribers. Basically, FAST channels are streaming services that function like regular television, in which scheduled programming comes on at a certain time and has ad breaks. The WB Discovery deal will bring a host of content to both Roku and Tubi in a “co-exclusive” deal that sees hundreds of TV series and movies coming over to the streaming platforms to be housed on specialty channels on the services.
In releases, Roku specifically mentioned Westworld, The Bachelor, Cake Boss, Say Yes to the Dress, and F-Boy Island will all be coming this spring through Warner Bros.-branded channels to the service, and Tubi called out Westworld, Raised by Wolves, and other shows would arrive on 14 WB-branded channels with 225 titles. Basically, if you want free WB content, you’ll turn to either streamer you use and it’ll be there.
The move makes a lot of sense, as FAST channels become more and more popular while streamers raise the prices of their streaming content. While these platforms don’t give you the luxury of selecting what shows you want to watch then, they provide hours and hours of content without the need of paying anything extra, and all you have to do is watch limited ads. With the growth of the platforms, those ad breaks will probably get longer, but free is still free. And so, we move one step closer to coming full circle and streaming turning into TV itself and advertising, once again, ruling the day.