Tubi is driving a massive surge in demand for free streaming

14 December, 2023

Image: Bosch: Legacy, Freevee

The streaming market is increasingly adopting strategies to boost revenue, such as hiking prices, clamping down on password sharing, and introducing advertisement-supported tiers. While these tactics aim to bolster the financial well-being of the companies, they might not always be favorably received by the subscribers.

Against this backdrop, there's a potential opening for an alternative platform model to make headway in the market. Enter FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) platforms, characterized by their no-contract, no-password approach. Demand data from Parrot Analytic reveals a notable surge in demand for the primary FAST platforms (Tubi, The Roku Channel, Freevee, and Pluto TV), which saw their combined TV catalog demand spike by 37.7% between the third quarters of 2022 and 2023. In comparison, the main SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand) platforms witnessed a 31.3% increase in the same period.


This uptick in FAST platform popularity is largely propelled by Fox’s Tubi, which reported a staggering 73.1% growth rate, outpacing other FAST and SVOD platforms. The other FAST platforms saw growth ranging from 37.7% to 24.5% over 12 months. Notably, this demand surge wasn't solely due to an expanded show lineup. In most instances, apart from The Roku Channel, the demand growth exceeded the supply growth, indicating an increased average demand for existing shows. Pluto TV, for instance, experienced demand growth even as its TV catalog shrank.

As cord-cutting accelerates in the US, audiences may be adopting the familiar linear-like interface of FAST channels as a no-cost entertainment substitute. However, it's crucial to note that, despite these impressive growth rates, FAST platforms still occupy a smaller market share compared to the SVOD group, both in overall demand and catalog size.

FAST and SVOD platforms distinguish themselves through their unique features and catalog compositions. FAST platforms, for example, typically have a smaller proportion of exclusive content. For instance, only 16.1% of Freevee’s TV catalog demand stems from exclusive series. This figure dips even lower for other platforms, with Pluto TV at 7.3%. By contrast, the main SVOD platforms boast an average exclusive demand share of 52.3%.


FAST platforms generally attract audiences for older, linearly-released scripted shows and unscripted content. On average, an exclusive show on a FAST platform was released 11 years ago and garners 1.5 times the demand of the average show as of November 2023. In contrast, exclusive shows on major SVOD platforms are typically newer and more sought-after, with an average release time of 6 years and a demand multiplier of 2.8.

Despite this, there are several highly popular exclusive shows on FAST platforms, highlighting their strengths. For example, Freevee boasts original shows like Bosch: Legacy, and licensed shows such as Person Of Interest, and the original Magnum, P.I. Pluto TV focuses more on unscripted content, featuring shows like Dr. Phil and Judge Judy. The Roku Channel offers the comedy 2 Broke Girls and select originals while Tubi hosts all 26 seasons of the classic Doctor Who series.

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