5 Reasons You Need a FAST Solution

By Senior Director - Product Marketing - March 5, 2024
5 Reasons You Need a FAST Solution

Why is FAST becoming a game-changer?

Adopting a FAST (Free Ad-supported Streaming Television) solution is no longer just a choice but a necessity in today's dynamic media environment. Projected to grow at a 15.4% CAGR from 2023, the global FAST market, valued at $6.9 billion in 2022, is expected to reach $28 billion by 2032. Let's uncover why FAST has the brightest future among all streaming models and the top five reasons that make it indispensable for your streaming success.

Decoding FAST

FAST encompasses digital streaming services that grant users access to diverse content, spanning movies, TV shows, and additional video offerings, all without a subscription fee. Rather than rely solely on user subscriptions for revenue, these platforms integrate advertising to generate income, offering a cost-free viewing experience supported by strategically placed ads.

READ: How to maximize your content and grow your audience on FAST

Speeding through time: A brief history of FAST and its rapid growth

Some video platforms started experimenting with FAST in the 2000s by giving viewers something different than traditional cable and satellite services. Video platforms like Hulu and Crackle were among the pioneers, experimenting with ad-supported models to deliver a wide range of content without requiring a subscription fee. 

As technology progressed and internet speeds increased, the mid-2010s marked the emergence of ad-supported streaming giants. Platforms such as Tubi, Pluto TV, and IMDb TV emerged, seizing the momentum of the transition toward cord-cutting and the escalating demand for budget-friendly entertainment choices. These platforms provided collections of movies, TV shows, and original content – and orchestrated their financial sustainability through strategically positioned advertisements.

For content owners, there are quite a few options as far as streaming models go - including FAST, AVOD (Advertising-supported Video on Demand), and SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand).  And while FAST and AVOD appear to be similar, there are some slight nuances between the two. The primary difference is that FAST is linear TV with a blend of fixed programming, schedules, and advertising – offering a lean-back, passive viewing experience. Some popular FAST Services include Tubi, Pluto TV and The Roku Channel. AVOD, though ad-based, is on-demand content distribution that helps viewers actively choose what they want to watch. A few examples of AVOD services are Hulu, Paramount+, Peacock, and Crackle.

” I appreciate how partners are leaning into FAST. FAST is not a dumping ground … it’s a place where people are coming … it’s content they love.”  

- Jennifer Vaux, VP, Roku, at Amagi LA FAST 2023

Data from Amagi ANALYTICS validates these FAST growth trends. Amagi Global FAST Report Edition 10 shows that on a global scale, when contrasting Q3 2022 with Q3 2023, FAST exhibited a 45% upswing in channel deliveries. In 2023, Amagi orchestrated the deployment of more than 1,400 new channel deliveries. Moreover, ad impressions witnessed a 15% surge, and Hours Of Viewing (HOV) notched a 30% increase.

READ: 5 key insider tips for enhancing your FAST distribution strategy

FAST: What does the future hold?

In the U.S., the ad spend trajectory in the television landscape reveals a significant shift. Findings from Insider Intelligence reveal that expenditures on traditional TV advertising are expected to gradually decline from $60.38 billion in 2023 to $54.74 billion in 2027. Pay TV, anticipated to experience a decline from a 50% share in 2023 to 19% in 2027, is poised for substantial changes. In stark contrast, Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) emerges as a growth powerhouse, with its share of ad spending expected to double from 13% in 2023 to 26% in 2027. 

READ: How FAST Channels Complement On-Demand Strategy


Meanwhile, FAST stands out as a frontrunner among all streaming models, showcasing a 25% increase during the same period.

READ: TV in 2024 Predictions: Personalization, global growth and the future of streaming

What makes FAST better than the rest 

FAST is increasingly gaining popularity compared to its counterparts. Let's look at the top reasons. 

  • Cord-cutting for the win: U.S. households abandoning Pay TV subscriptions are rising, reaching 46.6 million by the end of 2024 from 24.6 million in 2019. Seeking flexibility and cost-effectiveness, consumers are turning away from pricey bundled packages, opting for the accessibility and freedom provided by streaming services.
  • Subscription fatigue and hit to wallet: With various platforms offering exclusive content, consumers face the challenge of managing multiple subscriptions, each with a monthly cost. While this model provides diverse content, it strains budgets, prompting individuals to seek more financially sustainable alternatives.
  • Cable content bombardment: Traditional TV packages overwhelm viewers with numerous channels, leading to scrolling and dissatisfaction. High costs and a shift toward on-demand and customizable content drive viewers toward more streamlined and cost-effective alternatives.
  • Generic content offerings: FAST transforms streaming using advanced algorithms to analyze viewing history to generate customized recommendations across movies, TV shows, and original programming. This user-centric approach allows flexible content consumption with strategically placed ads. FAST's global content localization ensures a personalized and culturally diverse streaming experience, departing from traditional models.

You need a FAST solution. Here are five reasons why

1. Lower barrier of entry for content creators & advertisers

Choosing a FAST solution allows creators to start small, test, refine, and grow, offering an accessible platform for emerging talent. For advertisers, it provides a cost-effective entry point, enabling testing and scaling based on real-time feedback. The lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and cloud-based infrastructure streamline operations, making it financially viable for businesses of all sizes. Everything hosted in the cloud ensures scalability, agility, and a future-proof solution, aligning with modern streaming trends.

READ: Top 6 benefits of unified workflow for broadcast and OTT

2. An opportunity to get closer to your customers

Access to unique Connected TV (CTV) data empowers content creators to understand viewer behavior, trends, and preferences. This knowledge enables tailored content and advertising strategies, making content and ads more relevant to diverse audience segments. A FAST solution becomes crucial for businesses seeking profound connections and stronger brand loyalty by tracking viewer engagement in real-time and refining content accordingly.

3. Find your niche (and new customers)

Discover your niche and attract new customers with FAST— leverage persona data to curate unique content, building a distinct identity. Adopt a 'build, and they will come' approach with strategic promotion for customer growth, experimenting, and scaling based on real-time feedback. FAST also provides targeted advertising opportunities for precision and cost-effectiveness in reaching specific audience segments.

READ: Reaching new international audiences with FAST

4. A natural "side hustle" without abandoning your existing business

Monetizing content libraries provides an incremental revenue stream and allows businesses to explore the ad-supported streaming landscape without impacting the look and feel of their brand. FAST's flexibility empowers the expansion of revenue and reach, facilitating the creation of customized brands and messages for the streaming audience. This fosters growth and distinctiveness in the competitive landscape.

5. Consumers love the FAST TV experience
Notably, FAST stands out as the fastest-growing streaming tier, experiencing an 84% growth, making it a vital choice for businesses seeking to align with consumer trends and the surge in ad-supported streaming popularity. Insights from Amagi Consumer Survey 2024 point towards the growing popularity of FAST. While SVOD remains the most popular streaming model in the US (46%), FAST is catching up with a 20% adoption rate. A FAST solution is essential as consumers increasingly favor its delightful, cable-like experience without the subscription cost. With a growing number of global channels, the FAST landscape ensures continual quality improvement, meeting viewers' preferences.    

READ: How Personalized EPG will put FAST Services in the Fast Lane

Source: Amagi Global FAST Report Edition 10

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.