Free ad-supported streaming television, or FAST, has seen meteoric growth since we first fielded questions about the free streaming business in Whip Media’s U.S. Streaming Survey. The rush to acquire and retain viewers led to the exponential growth of FAST and AVOD (Advertising-Based Video On Demand) platforms. Today, there are estimated to be more than 1,400 FAST channels across 22 networks available in the U.S.3 Studios, distributors, platforms and operators are all developing FAST strategies.
Awareness and usage of FAST platforms is growing rapidly. Nearly half of respondents who are familiar with free streaming said they watched FAST channels at least a “few times” per month. Moreover, 78% of FAST viewers said they are watching the same amount or more FAST content, this year compared to last year. Content programming is the principal driver of FAST growth.
FAST channel content is the main driver of consumption and engagement; our research indicates that viewers are more loyal to specific content than to FAST channels or platforms. It is critical for FAST operators to acquire and program the right content when launching a service or channel. Challenges persist in FAST content performance tracking and management.
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