Insights

Who's winning the FAST Race: Free Ad-Supported Streaming in the US

20 August, 2021

We looked at the demand for shows available on free, ad-supported (FAST) platforms in July.  These platforms have an approach targeting cost-conscious audiences by offering a catalog of content to stream at no cost to them and are able to monetize this content with ads.  Below are the four FAST platforms with the most in-demand catalogs as of July.

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Pluto TV, the FAST platform owned by ViacomCBS comes out on top when considering which FAST platform catalog attracts the most demand.  In fact, Pluto TV has apparently exceeded the expectations of ViacomCBS itself, reaching the $1 billion annual revenue milestone a year ahead of schedule.

Tubi is not far behind Pluto TV however in terms of total platform demand.  The demand for all shows available on Tubi in July trailed Pluto by just over 12%.  

Below we highlighted the top 2 shows available on each platform last month:

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We can see that while the total catalog of the Roku Channel trails Pluto TV and Tubi, it still has the most in-demand shows available across these platforms.  Billions and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic both had more demand than the most in-demand series on other FAST platforms.  

Neither of the two most in-demand shows on Tubi, Lost and Dance Moms, are exclusive to that platform.  Exclusive content is often a key driver attracting audiences to a platform.  While Tubi has one of the stronger catalogs in terms of total demand, the fact that its top shows are not exclusives risks lessening the appeal of the platform to potential viewers.

Although its catalog demand trails other FAST platforms, IMDb TV (owned by Amazon) has had recent success expanding beyond just licensed content.  Its new original series Leverage: Redemptiontopped the ranking of series growing the fastest in demand last month.  This show in particular is a great example of leveraging (pun intended!) a franchise to draw in existing fan bases.  The show is a revival of the original Revival series which ended in 2012.  With smart content decisions like this IMDB TV should not have trouble drawing in new viewers.

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