Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) is no longer a U.S.-centric phenomenon, according to the Amagi Global FAST report. Amagi, a global leader in cloud-based SaaS technology for broadcast and connected TV, today announced the second edition of its quarterly industry report, which reveals that FAST is steadily making inroads into all regions around the world, powered by Connected TV (CTV). The report aggregates data from its proprietary platform, Amagi ANALYTICS on viewership and content monetization trends on top ad-supported platforms across the U.S. & Canada, EMEA, APAC, and Latin America.
While consumers have been shifting to CTV for years, the pandemic led to a significant increase in CTV adoption, giving FAST services a big boost. As of 2021, almost 83% of households in the U.S. have at least one CTV, used by at least one person every month. At the same time, advertisers are shifting their dollars from traditional TV to streaming TV, with marketers estimated to spend over $25 billion on advertising-supported video by 2025.
Against this background, Amagi’s new report unravels the global FAST narrative, also highlighting that news ranks as the top-performing genre in the world. The report analyzed QoQ growth of total hours of viewing (HOV) and ad impressions (Q2: April – June 21 vs Q3: July – September 2021) and monthly growth of the two key metrics between April – September 2021, across 1200+ channels on 50+ FAST platforms on Amagi’s dynamic ad insertion platform.
“With the undeniable shift to CTV, free ad-supported models have emerged as front-runners in the race for consumer attention and ad revenue,” said Srinivasan KA, co-founder, Amagi. “For both content owners and advertisers, this means now is the time to monetize premium content through an ad-only business model. The consumer demand is there – and they are telling us they want more FAST platforms and linear channels, rather than on-demand experiences.”
Audiences across the world are embracing FAST
Consumers beyond the U.S. are increasingly savoring free ad-supported linear channels that offer a wide range of content genres. In the U.S., ad impressions increased by 67% between April and September of this year, and, compared to last quarter, viewership hours were up by 18%. Viewership hours and content monetization on FAST have shown a similar growth trend across EMEA, APAC, and Latin America. Clearly, audiences across the world are embracing the new linear viewing experience, as a growing number of content owners deliver their niche content to platforms globally. The steady rise in HOV and ad impressions reflects that this market segment is gaining increased stability, serving as a positive signal to content owners and advertisers to invest in this space.
News stands out as the top-performing genre in the world
Across the world, news continues to be the star performer on FAST channels, accounting for maximum hours of viewing (19% increase from Apr-Sep 2021) as well as ad impressions (33% increase from Apr-Sep 2021). Much of this can be credited to the growing appetite for local storytelling among viewers, especially in the U.S., where local station groups have found a steady audience stream on FAST. As more and more advertisers cash in on this trend and news content becomes increasingly ‘monetizable’, the dominance of the news genre may become a permanent fixture.
Genre preferences vary by region
Based on impressions and hours of viewing, the Amagi report reveals different genre preferences across regions. While the news is the top genre in the U.S., EMEA loves the documentary genre. However, in Latin America, movies have garnered maximum viewership while the food genre has attracted maximum ad impressions. Similarly, in the APAC, the news is leading with maximum viewership, while music is seeing increased ad conversions. These are interesting trends that can be significant to advertisers in gauging how well they can invest their ad spend on various platforms and genres.
“Our report reflects the booming global consumer demand for CTV and free ad-supported models. Clearly, we are seeing growing competition in this universe, in turn leading to a greater demand for data and insights on content and ad performance,” added Srinivasan KA, co-founder, Amagi. “Through our quarterly industry reports, we hope to offer content owners, streaming platforms and advertisers granular data and sharp insights that help them confidently shape their FAST programming and advertising strategies for sustained success.”
To view the second edition of Amagi’s FAST report in its entirety, click here. The third edition will be released in January 2022, showcasing more data and insights on FAST viewership trends. Finally, the first FAST report can be found here, covering April – June 2021.
FAST report methodology
Built on data from the Amagi ANALYTICS platform and dynamic ad insertion platform, Amagi THUNDERSTORM, the FAST report analyzes 1200+ channels across 50+ platforms to explore the growth rate of channels and top-performing content genres across four key regions: the U.S. & Canada, EMEA, APAC, and Latin America.