By Richard Middleton
Free Ad-Supported Television (FAST) revenues are set to reach US$12bn in 2027 according to exclusive research from Digital TV Europe sister outfit Omdia, but cutting through the 1,500+ existing channels will provide the biggest challenge for operators as the market grows.
The FAST market has boomed in the US over the past two years, as operators such as Samsung, Roku, LG Channels and Paramount’s Pluto TV have secured rapid consumer uptake. Rights holders such as Banijay, ITV Studios and BBC Studios have also been increasing their activities by rolling out new channels.
This growth will continue in the US, where revenues are expected to surpass US$10bn by 2027, while in Europe revenues will exceed US$1bn by 2027.
The findings from Omdia also found that FAST channel revenues in the US grew by almost 20 times between 2019 and 2022, and will almost triple between 2022 and 2027.
At present, US revenues account for amost 90 per cent of the global FAST channel market value, which Omdia estimates is just under US$4bn. By 2027, the US FAST channel market will exceed US$10bn in revenue, but the fastest growth will come from countries outside of the States.
Global market growth
English-language countries such as the UK and Canada will see their markets grow quickly, with revenues of US$500m and US$300m respectively in 2027, while Brazil will become the key market in Latin America.
Germany is also expected to provide FAST opportunities for non-English content, with Omdia predicting its revenues will top just over US$200m in five years, while Lat Am as a whole will total US$207m. Spanish-language countries will be led by Mexico, whose FAST revenues are expected to be around US$93m by 2027, making it the seventh-largest individual market.
The full findings will be revealed by Omdia’s senior research director Maria Rua Aguete during a panel this morning at Content Americas in Miami, where she will highlight how FAST will allow content owners to monetise unused library content and bundle it in new ways.
Cutting through the surging number of channels, however, will provide considerable challenges for those hosting FAST networks, as well as rights holders, with original content expected to become a key differentiator as the market expands.
Roku has been experimenting in this regard, picking up shows from defunct shortform streamer Quibi and yesterday adding UKTV comedy We Are Not Alone to its slate, while Blue Ant has struck deals with Drag Race firm World of Wonder and acquired Mike Holmes’ lifestyle series.
“The challenge will remain on discoverability of content, because in the US there are already more than 1,500 channels available in and that number will increase over the next five years,” Rua Aguete said.