BANGALORE –  FAST is exploding. Free Ad-Supported TV options are rising growing fast.

According to eMarketer, in January 2021, just over a third (34%) of US households that had video streaming capability used ad-supported streaming services. But, whilst 26% of that was AVOD (ad-supported video on demand), the remaining 8% was something more familiar to traditional viewers – linear.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Srinivasan KA of Amagi, a company that helps enable linear ad-supported streaming channels, explains reasons for FAST’s growth – and its challenges.

From SVoD to FAST

“FAST, pun unintended, is the fastest-growing connected TV category today,” he says. “Given the subscription fatigue, given the number of subscription services with the large ones taking bulk of the share, we are starting to see substantial growthcoming in from these free platforms.

“Viewers, after spending 30 minutes to an hour on the Netflix and the Disney Pluses of the world, then look for additional content, either content that is not available on these platforms because they want something niche specific, or they’re looking for much more variety.”

FAST operators include XUMO TV, Pluto and Tubi, all of which have been acquired by major networks, plus offerings from equipment manufacturers like Visio, Samsung and Roku.

FAST’s driving factors

For Srinivasan KA, the key difference from AVOD generally is the linear nature of the ad-supported content.

“FAST is provided like a cable dial, where you got an EPG and all the channels are available in a precurated linear 24/7 format,” he explains. “You just flip through channels and watch them.”

He ascribes FAST’s growth to two factors:

  1. People trying to save money without adding subscriptions.
  2. The arrival of premium-quality content coming into FAST platforms, with some starting to commission their own big exclusives.

Fighting FAST ad fatigue

But, despite the fact that FAST is ad-supported and linear, Srinivasan KA says operators nevertheless must tread carefully.

“The new millennial and Gen Z viewers cannot sustain more than five or 10 minutes of attention span,” he says.

“You’re going to have much less advertising time on a per-hour basis. So you need to have interesting interactive video ad formats if you want to be able to monetize the content.”

That means the sweet spot is servicing a point somewhere between two consumer fatigues – excessive SVoD and excessive free ad load.

Wiring channels to platforms

Amagi helps bring streaming linear channels to viewing platforms.

It offers products for cloud play-out, event orchestration, on schedule planning dynamic ad insertion, ad sales and more.

Srinivasan KA Says Amagi can deliver channels on to platforms “like Samsungs and the Rokus and the Vizios and the XUMOs and the Plutos of the world”, as well as others.

“Then we work with pretty much all the major SSPs and DSPs to bring advertising programmatic and directly-sold advertising into these FAST platforms by doing dynamic server-side ad insertion.”

You are watching “It’s time to elevate your video ads, or risk getting left behind,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by TripleLift. For more videos, please visit this page.