Revolutionizing TV Advertising: The Growth and Potential of Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST)


17 May 2023

What are FAST Advertising and FAST Channels?

Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST) is a free internet-based TV distribution model that offers live TV channels to users without charge. FAST provides an alternative to traditional TV by displaying targeted 15-30 second ads between programs, eliminating the need for users to pay for content.

With over a thousand FAST TV channels in the market, recognizing potential advertising opportunities in 2023 is crucial. These free ad-supported streaming television platforms are gaining popularity and attracting millions of new viewers monthly by catering to specific interests such as news, cooking, and true crime shows. They can also showcase reruns of popular broadcast shows and focus on significant events like the World Cup.

The most widely viewed FAST channels cover a wide range of topics. Presently, the most popular channels are owned chiefly by broadcasters:

  • Pluto TV (by ViacomCBS);
  • Xumo (by NBCU);
  • Tubi (by Fox);
  • Peacock (by NBCU);
  • IMDbTV (by Amazon);
  • Samsung TV+ (by Samsung);
  • The Roku Channel (by RokuTM).

FAST Platforms and CTV: A Shift in Viewership

In 2021, 67.1% of US internet users subscribed to streaming services, surpassing cable and satellite TV platforms, with multiple free-ad-supported TV platforms leading the way. Networks leverage their vast collections of idle content and earn revenue through the FAST model. This increased demand means that content owners must raise prices for more exclusivity, change commercial bonding, and differentiate, particularly in the maturing markets of FAST. The estimated income for linear free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) in the US in 2023 is 4.1 billion USD, according to Statista.

As consumers increasingly adopt connected TV, it is unsurprising that more advertising dollars are shifting from linear TV to CTV. Integral Ad Science (Now Streaming CTV guide) research indicates that 88% of people watch CTV, and 91% of CTV users view some ad-supported streaming video services. Advertisers must contextualize their ads appropriately as CTV platforms gain more viewership. It is worth noting CTV inventory is limited, despite the high demand and CPMs driving US CTV ad spending to reach $24.76 billion by 2024.

New Challenges and Opportunities with Free Ad-supported Streaming Television

CTV’s growing viewership shifts TV towards internet-based streaming. Advertisers must adapt cross-screen strategies to reach viewers on multiple devices. Advanced measurement tools and technologies are necessary to track performance and optimize campaigns. FAST services are popular to fill content gaps when viewers reach their monthly subscription limits. Compared to paid services, FAST channels have faster user growth and higher consumption.

FAST presents several advantages for advertising opportunities beyond those mentioned earlier. These include a projected short-term profit growth of $9 billion by 2026, content diversity with over 1400 channels across 22 networks, an increase in ad impressions of up to 18% yearly in 2022, and a rise in the time spent viewing of up to 10% annually.

Benefits of FAST Advertising

FAST advertising offers advertisers a cost-effective, targeted, and flexible way to reach their target audience and drive engagement.

  1. FAST advertising is cost-effective as advertisers can place ads on specific channels or shows, reducing costs compared to traditional TV advertising.
  2. Targeted ads: FAST gives detailed audience data to create ads for specific viewers.
  3. Greater engagement: FAST advertising allows for greater engagement with viewers through interactive ads, such as click-to-shop.
  4. Flexible: FAST advertising lets advertisers adjust real-time campaigns based on ad performance, providing greater flexibility than traditional TV advertising.
  5. Brand safety: FAST platforms ensure brand safety by enforcing strict content guidelines and avoiding placing ads next to inappropriate content.
  6. Better performance: Regarding viewer satisfaction, FAST services outperform other streaming services, as reflected in their higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS).

It is worth noting CTV advertising can be performed similarly within the FAST ecosystem as in subscription services. DecenterAds enables the purchase of ads on FAST.



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