Common Sense Networks on FAST Moves


Common Sense Networks’ Eric Berger, CEO and co-founder, and Kyra Reppen, acting chief content officer, share how the company is filling the gaps in the kids’ FAST segment.

While the FAST space continues to grow, Berger notes that the kids’ segment lags when it comes to monetization. Common Sense Networks looks to fill this gap for consumers and brands by anchoring its channels in safe, thematic programming. Sensical Jr. features digital-first creator and nostalgic content for preschoolers and their millennial parents; Sensical Makers provides content that allows kids to engage with maker culture; and Sensical Gaming features tips, challenges, tutorials and gameplay.

“The crux of our solution is anchoring our FAST channels in thematic programming, an approach that has worked successfully in the adult space with niche FAST channels built around anime, food, British dramas, travel and horror,” Berger explains. “We are bringing that lens to kids for the very first time, launching three channels based on our most popular verticals where kids overwhelmingly spend their time on open user-generated platforms.”

“It’s our industrial vetting process that’s our main point of differentiation,” he notes. The company employs a rigorous rubric that scores content on a variety of criteria, including topics, learning categories, personal characteristics, DEI and more. “We’re the only organization with child development experts watching every frame of every video. We say, ‘Vigilance is our filter; consistency is our goal.’ This approach allows us to deliver on our promise to create digital experiences where kids can go safely down a rabbit hole with content they love and that remove the burden of choice experienced with other types of streaming offerings. By culling our insights, we’ve amassed an inordinate amount of meaningful metadata allowing us to program our channels with surgical precision, and deliver advertising in uniquely targeted contextual ways.”

The company has also introduced a certification program called SENSICALSELECT, applied to 500 series selected from tens of thousands viewed. It recognizes a program’s high-quality, age-appropriate content. Common Sense Networks is now certifying FAST channels as well, giving brands “peace of mind when associating their products and services with certified channels that are not only brand-safe but also contextually aligned to their campaigns,” Berger says.

Another point of differentiation for Common Sense Networks is its approach to programming. “Historically, TV networks and many FAST channels focused on dayparts, scheduling different content within time blocks to appeal to different audiences at different times of the day,” Reppen explains. “We look at day patterns, where we assess FAST viewing patterns across distinct kid age breaks and refine the programming in half-hour increments to maximize engagement. This ensures a continuous thematic flow from one show to the next and, as a result, we experience less churn.”

Ultimately, Common Sense Networks believes its approach to kids’ FAST channels “will fuel a generation of kids who emerge as more curious, with greater self-esteem and are less materialistic, as they won’t be subject to over-commercialization,” Berger says. “We believe that with brand-safe content, a vast cross-platform network and with extensive content metadata that allows a fully compliant contextual content match at scale, the opportunity exists to make kids and family programming in the FAST space a viable business for all stakeholders.”