AIRTIME Episode 1: FAST Growth & CTV Ad Opportunity

By Amagi - March 19, 2024

Amagi kicked off its webinar series, Amagi AIRTIME, with The FASTMaster Gavin Bridge to discuss key takeaways from Amagi's latest FAST Report, including the steady shift in ad spend from Pay TV to CTV. Amagi's Siva Natarajan joined to chat about all things FAST and ads.

Here's what we learned:

FAST continues to be more popular than AVOD

Bridge's intro to our FAST Report covers the reasons behind FAST's popularity over AVOD.

"It's a question of reach," Bridge says. For example, platforms like Netflix have around 20 million global subscribers of its ad-supported video tier, while YouTube reports approximately 75 million global monthly average users. This widespread accessibility, regardless of content age, underscores the significance of reaching diverse audiences.

WATCH: View our full webinar series here

Contrary to common belief, says Bridge, dated content that's not fresh can still captivate viewers. The untapped potential of FAST emerges as an avenue for expanding viewership, challenging the notion that only premium content holds value.

Whether one pays a subscription fee or enjoys content for free, the driving factor for success is often the content’s ability to engage and entertain.
- Gavin Bridge, FASTMaster

Unveiling FAST trends

Shedding light on some of the latest FAST trends, Bridge shares his key trends in the world of free ad-supported streaming industry:

  • Visible growth in FAST viewership numbers. "It's the best it's ever been," Bridge says. 
  • Viewership numbers went up, but ad revenues didn't. Even after introducing ads, platforms like Disney Plus and Netflix didn't see a growth in ad revenues. This phenomenon highlights that premium content with ads may not be as effective as ads on FAST services. The assumption that higher-priced ad spaces equate to increased viewer engagement proved flawed as subscriber growth for these platforms waned, particularly evident in the past year. 
  • But lately, the FAST ad market may be growing stronger. Over the past six months, ad space availability on FAST platforms has significantly decreased, indicating a healthier ad market. Despite stagnant viewership growth, the reduction in empty slots results in more ads being served, reflecting increased demand. Recognizing the value of FAST as a cost-effective option, advertisers are gradually exploring the platform, leading to rising ad rates and impressions. While some advertisers strategically target specific channels to reach niche audiences, others are beginning to recognize the platform's full potential, paving the way for further growth in the ad-supported streaming landscape.
  • FAST needs a myth buster to unlock its true potential. "Traveling worldwide to engage with broadcasters and audiences, the diversity of channels and innovations outside the US underscored the growing interest and appetite for FAST content," Bridge says.

    The latest Amagi Global FAST report shows growing average view times and ad impressions, especially in emerging markets like South America and Europe, surpassing even the mature US market. This suggests a promising future for FAST services.
    - Bridge


    LATAM & APAC with a notable increase in FAST adoption

    Latin America experienced three-digit growth in ad impressions, particularly in Brazil, driving the region's embrace of FAST platforms. Why? Broadcasters leverage their content libraries to reach diverse audiences and monetize older content effectively. As industry conversations and observations indicate, Brazil's dynamic landscape positions it as a critical player in the ongoing evolution of the streaming industry, and we can expect promising growth trends in future reports.

    Additionally, the tenth edition of Amagi Global FAST Report also found impressive three-digit growth in ad impressions for Q3 2022 vs. Q3 2023 and Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2023 analyses across APAC and LATAM. 


Growth in ad impressions

(Q3 2022 vs. Q3 2023)

Growth in ad impressions

(Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2023)







From Pay TV to FAST: Shift in viewership & ad dollars

The latest data shows a notable increase in unique viewers migrating to FAST platforms, indicating a significant shift within the TV ecosystem. This surge in viewership reflects a transition from other TV formats to FAST services, which are experiencing double-digit growth in viewership. This shift is due to several factors, including the widespread integration of FAST systems into Connected Television (CTV), enhancing discoverability and accessibility for viewers. 

Linear TV vs. FAST: The difference in viewing experience

Viewers find linear TV more immersive because they expect ads to be part of the experience, unlike on-demand platforms where they're inclined to skip ads. Research indicates that consumers generally accept ad-supported content on FAST platforms, especially considering ad loads are lower than broadcast and cable TV. This acceptance suggests that viewers are more likely to engage with ads on these platforms, as they appreciate shorter ad breaks and perceive them as a fair trade-off for accessing free content.

News, politics & FAST: A deep dive

As consistently highlighted in previous editions of the
Amagi Global FAST reports, news remains the leading genre within the US FAST landscape.

The upcoming political season presents a significant opportunity for FAST platforms, marking a notable shift from the previous election cycle due to the platform's increased scale. With a plethora of news content expected to dominate, various channels and services will likely launch election-focused programming to cater to viewer interests.

Leveraging this opportunity, advertisers can effectively reach their target demographics while providing viewers with more in-depth coverage of local political events, further solidifying the appeal and relevance of FAST platforms in the media landscape. 

What’s next for you?

  • If you are looking to launch a FAST channel, explore Amagi NOW. It’s a one-stop channel creation and management platform to launch live and VOD channels. It also enables the distribution of your programming to all popular FAST services. 
  • Read our latest FAST Industry Report.
  • To learn more about how Amagi can help, get in touch with us.