This post is sponsored by TiVo.
Free Ad-Supported streaming TV (FAST), channels are rising in popularity among consumers who are more accepting of ads as they tighten their budgets. Viewers can watch TV without having to subscribe to a monthly service. The latest TiVo Q2 2023 Video Trends Report revealed that 26.6% of respondents dropped a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service during the last 18+ months, which represents a year-over-year increase of 8.0%. Growing options among ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD), and FAST channels are helping boost this trend.
The number of FAST channels has grown rapidly in the past year, with new entrants coming from both traditional media companies and new streaming startups. Research shows consumers are gravitating toward these FAST options thanks to ease of use and less stress associated with what to watch. In fact, Omdia research indicates that there are already more than 1,500 channels available in the US and that related revenue is on pace to triple by 2027 to $12 billion.
“The number of channels and revenue growth will be significant in the next five years. Improving content discovery will be critical to the success of those channels,” said Omdia’s Maria Rua Aguete.
Connected TV (CTV) is also fueling growth as many of these TVs come pre-loaded with FAST channels, which makes it easy for consumers to find and watch FAST channels without having to download any apps.
So, what does this mean for the entertainment industry and content providers? We will dive into the factors driving the widespread adoption of FAST channels among consumers, as well as the motivations behind studios and networks entering the FAST arena, ultimately enhancing the caliber of content.
Competition is on the rise
The rise of streaming services has led to an increase in competition for content, which has forced FAST channels to invest in higher-quality content to attract and retain viewers. Technology advancements are playing a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of FAST content, while also elevating the viewer experience by improving lead-in programming, delivering advertising experiences that rival traditional broadcasting and fostering greater diversity in the range of advertising offerings available. The need to differentiate services is also leading FAST channel providers to open their wallets to invest in original shows and movies, which in turn means viewers get a wider variety of high-quality content on FAST channels.
Improved quality of FAST channel content, paired with a successful revenue model, is the virtuous cycle fueling growth in this market. As content improves, so does search, personalized recommendations and promotion (i.e.. more recognizable movies and shows “above the fold”). Scott Maddux, vice president of global content strategy and business at Xperi, emphasizes the importance of quality programming in combination with discoverability. “FAST channel viewership is driven by great programming and ease of access through search, recommendations and integration across carousels and program guides. Additionally, FAST channels rarely require login making it an easy viewing decision for consumers. ” Maddux says.
How is TiVo helping to advance FAST?
TiVo is committed to building content solutions to drive viewership and monetization across FAST channels. TiVo+ offers:
- Content first user experience: TiVo presents viewers with an intuitive way to connect to their content of choice via smart TVs, set-top boxes and automotive video solutions. The Powered by TiVo™ experience delivers faster time to desired content, fewer clicks and a superior, more personalized experience that people want to engage in day in an day out.
- Personalized recommendations: TiVo uses its data to recommend content to viewers based on their viewing history and interests. This helps viewers discover new content that they are likely to enjoy, and it also helps to keep them engaged with the TiVo+ service.
- Contextual targeting: TiVo uses its data to target ads to viewers based on the content that they are watching. This helps to ensure that viewers see ads that are relevant to them, and it also helps to improve the ad experience for viewers.
- Data-driven insights: TiVo provides FAST channels with data and insights that can help them improve their content selection, marketing and monetization strategies. This data can help FAST channels to make better decisions about what content to acquire, how to promote their channels, and how to price their advertising.
The future of FAST is exciting because it combines affordability with a wide variety of content choices, targeted advertising, and innovative monetization strategies. “I expect to see even more FAST offerings launch globally in 2024, as more media companies look to capitalize on the growing demand for free streaming content,” says Maddux. As platforms, like TiVo OS, continue to evolve and expand, they are poised to play a significant role in the streaming landscape, offering viewers diverse and engaging content experiences.
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