Europe’s Leap: Navigating the Rapid Adoption of FAST and AVOD

By: Jerry Inman|February 29, 2024

The landscape of digital streaming in Europe is undergoing a significant shift with the rapid adoption of FAST and AVOD. This trend is offering an alternative route to how European audiences consume media, reflecting a growing preference for flexible, cost-effective viewing options. In this blog, we explore the factors driving this trend, highlight successful platforms and partnerships, and delve into the impressive growth statistics in the EMEA region.

Understanding the Appeal
Europe’s diverse media market, with its multitude of languages and cultures, presents unique challenges and opportunities for streaming services. FAST and AVOD platforms are rising to this challenge by offering a rich variety of content, from local favourites to international hits, all at no direct cost to the viewer. This model is familiar and appealing in a region where public and commercial broadcasters continue to play a strong role, and where audiences are accustomed to free, ad-supported content, delivered in very slick OTT applications.

Successful Platforms Making Waves
Several FAST platforms are leading the charge in Europe’s FAST and AVOD space. Pluto TV, for instance, has made significant inroads with its diverse content lineup, appealing to a wide range of viewer preferences across different European countries. Pluto offers over 100 unique channels, including a mix of movies, TV shows, sports, and niche content. More importantly, many of these O&O channels have been curated for local markets to cater to the varied tastes of the individual broadcast markets that make up the European market.

Rakuten TV is another success story, expanding rapidly across Europe and now available in over 40 countries. By integrating with smart TV ecosystems and combining free content with premium options, Rakuten TV offers a comprehensive viewing experience with FAST, AVOD and transactional content available within the Rakuten app experience.

Strategic Partnerships Fueling Growth
Partnerships have been crucial in expanding FAST and AVOD services in Europe. Collaborations with local content creators and distributors have enabled platforms like Samsung TV Plus  to offer exclusive FAST channels like Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” channel from the ITV Studios stable, enhancing their local appeal.

Growth Statistics in the EMEA Region

The growth of FAST in the EMEA region has been particularly impressive in 5 key areas. For example:

  1. United Kingdom: The UK has seen a 30% increase in FAST platform viewership in 2023. This is tied  to a very robust streaming market where platforms like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub have normalised watching both on demand and streamed linear tv viewing.
  2. Germany: Germany reports a 25% growth, with services like ZDFmediathek and Joyn capitalising on the demand for both local and international content.
  3. France: In France, a 20% growth rate has been reported, partly due to the success of platforms like and Molotov.
  4. Spain: Spanish audiences have shown a 15% increase in FAST service usage, with platforms like RTVE Play gaining popularity.
  5. Italy: Italy rounds out the top five with a 10% growth, driven by platforms like RaiPlay and Mediaset Play.
  6. These statistics, provided by Digital TV Research, highlight the burgeoning appeal of FAST services across diverse European markets.

These statistics (provided by Digital TV Research) highlight the burgeoning appeal of FAST services across diverse European markets.

The Future of Streaming in Europe
The future of FAST and AVOD in Europe looks promising, with continued growth and evolution expected. The emphasis will likely shift towards more localized content, innovative advertising models, and enhanced user experiences.One of the challenges that needs to be overcome is the seamless integration of new FAST channels into the traditional broadcast epg to make sure that viewers do not see FAST as a “second class” viewer experience. 

The rapid adoption of FAST and AVOD in Europe signals a new era in digital streaming, emphasizing flexibility, variety, and accessibility. As these platforms continue to expand and evolve, they are set to redefine the European media landscape, offering audiences a unique blend of free, quality content. Understanding viewer preferences, engagement patterns, and content performance is vital in the FAST ecosystem. 

At Whip Media, we provide content owners the ability to understand how their entire library is performing across all of the streaming windows, including now, the growing FAST opportunity. Our FASTrack service leverages advanced analytics to provide deep insights into the key performance and commercial metrics, enabling content platforms and channels to tailor their content strategy and therefore maximise their finance return. This data-driven approach is not just about understanding what content performs well, but also why it resonates with audiences. It informs content creation, acquisition, and distribution strategies, ensuring that every piece of content delivered is primed for maximum engagement and advertising success.