According to research from analyst firm nScreenMedia, the US free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) industry is locked into a virtuous cycle. Expanding audiences attract more and better content, attracting more advertisers, and driving up ad values.
And, in turn, the growth in content attracts more viewers. This market dynamic will drive ad revenue earned by virtual linear (vLinear) channels from $2.1 billion (€1.8bn) in 2021 to $4.1 billion in 2023.
The firm’s new free White Paper, Getting FAST: The explosive vLinear market and why content providers need to jump in, sponsored by Verizon Media, explains that streamers, hardware manufacturers, and content providers are now fully engaged in the FAST market.
Smart TV manufacturers have FAST services built into their devices. They are launching new vLinear channels, and some are even re-orienting their business around them.
Content providers have recognised the value of vLinear delivery. They understand the channels can provide strong monetisation and promotional opportunities for new and library shows and movies.
As viewers migrate more of their viewing time to streaming, linear TV channels remain a popular option. Interest in vLinear channels has helped FAST market leader Pluto TV more than double its monthly active users over the last two years.
The White Paper details the state of the FAST industry today. Some findings include:
“There was a time when many forecast the death of linear TV viewing,” advises Colin Dixon, Founder and Chief Analyst at nScreenMedia and White Paper author. “However, it is now clear that the format continues to deliver value to viewers. The FAST market has just begun a long period of rapid expansion.”
The papers findings support the investment in the FAST market made by video platform providers, including the White Paper’s sponsor Verizon Media:
“At Verizon Media, we’ve witnessed the evolution of OTT and the rapid adoption of FAST platforms as our customers look to increase their audience reach and provide greater pricing flexibility to consumers,” said Ariff Sidi, GM and Chief Product Officer, Verizon Media Platform. “We are encouraged by nScreenMedia’s market validation as we continue to deliver the industry’s leading platform for both subscription and ad-supported video consumption.”