The winds of Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) are blowing across Europe as its media landscape is undergoing tectonic shifts facilitated by Connected TV (CTV). CTV takes the best of the linear format and combines it with the best of digital to create a virtuous cycle for all stakeholders involved. Consumers can access vast libraries of top-quality long-form video content, advertisers can benefit from targeted ad campaigns, and content owners get access to scale, discoverability, and better monetization options.
Compared to the US, Europe is diversified and fragmented in terms of media culture, digital infrastructure, and existing dominant services such as Pay TV. In that context, the growth of CTV has been nothing short of impressive.
In the biggest markets in Europe, CTV already accounts for around 50% of the viewership when streaming devices and gaming consoles are included.
50% of all the CTV consumers watch content through CTV daily and almost all CTV consumers watch content through CTV weekly.
If we look into more granular data, according to a recent survey conducted by IAS, in UK 9 out of 10 consumers can access content through CTV.
The demographic range in terms of consumption makes it evident that CTV is becoming the norm for all age groups. To make a case, we might intuitively believe that the largest consumer demographic could be Generation Z and millennials. However, according to SpotX research, it is Generation X that leads CTV viewership with as high as 43% of consumption. (Generation Z and millennials together account for 32%).
Where AVOD fits in
In addition to this, the pandemic and the economic challenges it created made the ecosystem ripe for AVOD. According to Magnite's new research, 63% of viewers who watch content through TV in Europe’s big five markets, watched ad supported content every week.
To break it down country-wise:
UK (74%) Spain (64%) France (62%) Italy (60%) Germany (55%)
Further, as high as 69% of CTV consumers in Europe watch ad-funded content.
As much as 58% prefer free content enabled by ads versus paying for ad-free content.
The UK is leading this phenomenon where 83% of consumers are comfortable with ads if it means access to free content.
The FAST advantage for consumers
FAST, a part of the AVOD universe, enables a better consumer experience when we consider the following points:
Universal search: FAST is becoming an attractive option for consumers who face subscription overload issues, in terms of multiple subscriptions and the challenge of content discovery.
No paywall: Content on free ad supported platforms is not behind a paywall and this radically decreases barriers to entry and increases the user base.
Vast content libraries: Consumers can access a wide range of content across a plethora of genre.
Minimal ad load: In general, accounting for 8 minutes per hour of content compared to 17 minutes or above in traditional broadcasting TV.
Relevant ads: Targeted, personalized ads catering to consumer preferences, ad placements and new formats that do not interrupt the viewing experience are becoming the norm.
How can content owners and distributors benefit from FAST?
For content owners and distributors, FAST becomes an enabler for scaling their content and reaching a wider audience both in terms of geographical as well as demographic expansion. This means that more consumers can now discover and enjoy their content in ways that feel organic to them. At the same time, for small and independent content creators, this platform could serve as a great equalizer and generate sustainable streams of income.
Brands and services adopting the FAST route
Major global platforms such as Samsung TV Plus, XUMO, Pluto TV, and Rakuten have launched their services in Europe and are quickly scaling across the continent. For instance, Rakuten TV offers both SVOD and AVOD and has 12 million viewers in all of Europe, and a whopping 95% of these viewers watch content on CTV.
In Europe, Samsung users can now access 94 free channels through Samsung TV Plus instantly. Xumo offers FAST service with over 190 channels to countries such as the UK, Germany, Italy, and France through LG smart TVs.
ViacomCBS owned Pluto TV, spread majorly in the UK, Spain and Germany in Europe, offers over 100 linear channels, genre-specific content, and other video formats made available through its partners. It launched its free ad supported service in France early 2021 with 40 original channels that have since then expanded to 50 and is planning to expand to Italy soon.
The free ad supported streaming TV service is shaping into a solid consumer preference as these services expand into new European markets and with the rise of consumer awareness regarding the same.
Get the Amagi FAST advantage
Content owners and distributors partnered with Amagi have been able to successfully launch and scale their content in this booming space. For instance, Qwest TV, an SVOD music service teamed up with Amagi to launch linear channels such as Qwest TV Classical across various FAST platforms. Qwest was able to increase its reach into EU5 and other geographies and improve its revenues using Amagi ADS PLUS virtual ad service among other solutions.
Similarly, Koch Films, a German content distributor was able to leverage Amagi as the one-stop solution for creating, launching and monetizing their channels on FAST platforms, and they have been successful expanding their reach across the world.
A global leader in FAST solutions and tech champion of both big and small media brands, Amagi is uniquely positioned to fast track your business strategy in this increasingly competitive market segment. Reach out to us at email@example.com if you are looking to thrive in the FAST space.