Skip to content
Home » “FAST channels are redefining premium video distribution”: FreeWheel video marketplace report | What’s New in Publishing

“FAST channels are redefining premium video distribution”: FreeWheel video marketplace report | What’s New in Publishing

The latest FreeWheel Video Marketplace Report (VMR) highlights the changing dynamics of how media owners are monetizing premium digital video content. Key takeaway for publishers? The U.S. is witnessing strong growth in FAST channels with the European market following closely behind – participating publishers are experiencing significant success.

Comcast’s FreeWheel has released the latest version of its Video Marketplace Report, looking at video advertising trends in Europe and the US during the second half of 2022. 

For publishers, the primary trend is the exponential rise of free ad-supported streaming channels (FAST) which are rapidly redefining video content distribution. Essentially, the format allows publishers to monetize content while simultaneously giving audiences a live linear viewing experience similar to a paid-for cable subscription.

Speaking to WNIP, FreeWheel’s Executive Director (UK & Ireland) Jamie Caras, explains, “For publishers looking to expand their video content, FAST platforms present them with an accelerated route to market.

“With FASTs, publishers have the ability to reach a broader audience on the big screen and capture high levels of engagement through TV-like experiences outside pay-walls. In doing so they also add another platform to their monetisation mix with the advantage of streamlining the media buying process through programmatic.”

Report key takeaways:

  • In the US, FAST channels account for 50% of OTT views, and 30% of total ad views.
  • FAST channels are also growing rapidly in Europe as ad impressions doubled in Q3 2022 versus the previous year.
  • Audiences love the big screen; 82% of ad views in the US and more than half of ad views in Europe come from connected TV and set-top box video on demand.
  • In 2023 CTV advertising is predicted to experience 14% growth globally.

TMB, (owner of Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home and other multi-platform brands) last year said it had doubled its FAST viewing figures with Samsung and Roku leading the way. Bonnie Kintzer, President and CEO of TMB, told WNIP, “You have to be where consumers are. If video is the main way people are receiving information, then we will want to consider video.”

It’s about the content. We call ourselves a content company. It’s our content that drives our audience, and it’s our audience that drives our monetization……but people are still reading. It’s not one or the other, it’s not this or that, we will give you the content how you want it.

Bonnie Kintzer, President and CEO of TMB

A word of caution

Kintzer, however, warned publishers that the skillsets needed for FAST TV are very different to what publishers are used to, “It demands a different mindset and knowledgebase, and for this you need strong talent and good partner relationships in the marketplace. I’ve learned a tonne over the past eighteen months as we’ve evolved to become one of the biggest players in FAST.”

FreeWheel’s Caras echoes the sentiments, “It is critical to note that monetising premium video inventory on FAST platforms requires a different technical set-up and expertise in comparison to desktop or mobile. To successfully monetise their FAST offerings, publishers need a specialised set of advertising capabilities to help them uphold compliance, safeguard the premium video experience for their audiences, and ensure they can maintain a holistic view of their advertising operations.”

Publishers should take a leaf from the playbook of broadcasters, who are more familiar with using digital capabilities to trade ad inventory, and adopt similar approaches for monetising FASTs.

Jamie Caras, Executive Director (UK & Ireland), FreeWheel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!