WBD Teams with Samsung TV on FAST MotorTrend Channel

The MotorTrend Group, a division of Warner Bros. Discovery, has joined forces with Samsung TV Plus to launch the MotorTrend FAST TV channel in the U.S. and Canada. The free ad-supported MotorTrend VOD offering marks WBD’s move into the entertainment FAST lane. The service will feature automotive and lifestyle content from a library curated since 2002, when Discovery began acquiring related programming, eventually launching the Velocity cable channel in 2011, rebranded as MotorTrend in 2018. MotorTrend’s David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan — authorities on novelty cars — are expected to be the mainstay of the new service’s weekend programming.

“The most common request among our tens of millions of fans is one of ‘access’ — access to our massive catalog of premium automotive storytelling, and MotorTrend FAST TV delivers with a free, ad-supported business that complements our digital and TV subscription offerings,” MotorTrend Group global president and general manager Alex Wellen told Variety of the new venture, calling Samsung TV Plus, with its “immersive, frictionless experience” the ideal partner.

The addition of the MotorTrend FAST TV channel comes on the heels of Samsung’s launch of its own Ride or Drive FAST offering on Samsung TV Plus, which is seen in 24 countries on 465 million TV and mobile devices. The South Korea-based electronics giant recently relaunched Samsung TV Plus with an eye toward unique content and global brand-building.

Samsung Electronics SVP of product and marketing Sang Kim told Variety the rapid growth of Samsung TV Plus validates the FAST model, which “consumers continue to fall in love with” for its immediacy and value.

“We’re providing the premium entertainment experience of traditional TV, without the need for a credit card or subscription,” Kim shared with Variety, noting Samsung TV Plus provides “consumers entertaining content they can enjoy when and how they want it, from local news and sports, to home, lifestyle, auto and beyond.”

“The channel will be an extension of the MotorTrend Network, a linear network operated by WBD,” writes The Streamable, noting “it will be the company’s first attempt at launching an entertainment-based FAST channel,” following WBD’s previously launched “FAST channels dedicated to news coverage.”

Variety Intelligence Platform projects that revenues generated from FAST advertising in 2022 will top out at $3.9 billion, growing to $6.1 billion by 2025. Variety sums up 2022 as “the year that the TV industry went all in on FAST,” calling the business model “the talk of conferences across the U.S. and internationally, with MIPCOM 2022 the latest to see panels and meetings stacked with discussions around the format.”

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