Posted on Apr 10, 2023

Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) in AdTech Trends 2023

5 reviews

The number of streaming services competing for consumers’ attention has increased in the last five years. As a result, the demand for free- and therefore ad-supported – streaming content has grown, together with the rise of programmatic tv popularity.

Netflix and Disney, two leaders of the ad-free model, finally launched ad-supported subscription tiers at the end of the previous year.

The free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) model is growing in popularity with audiences and advertisers. Additionally, global data from Hootsuite shows that 93.5% of internet users access content via streaming services.

What is FAST?

Free ad-supported television (FAST) is a form of streaming television in which viewers watch content for free, but viewers must view advertisements to do so. 

FAST services typically host large content libraries and are accessible across multiple devices, making them attractive to cost-conscious consumers.

FAST platforms have a few benefits over traditional linear television. Channels can be created and distributed much more simpler, allowing a wider range of businesses to join.

And programmatic advertising is a natural match since all content is delivered via the Internet.

Maintain The Highest Revenues in Media Trading With SmartHub!
Get a Consultation For Free
Contact us

FAST trends

FAST has grown more quickly in the United States, where it has capitalized on the cord-cutting trend by offering a free alternative to expensive cable subscriptions.

Progress has been slower in Europe, where quality free-to-air TV is abundant. However, adoption is also on the rise here, as smart TVs and connected devices are increasingly utilized for viewing.

Over the past three years, FAST revenues grew by almost 20 times. They are expected to triple between 2022 and 2027, reaching over $12 billion.

But while the US will take the lion’s share of FAST revenue growth over the next five years, the fastest growth (in percentage terms) will come from outside the US.  

By 2027, FAST revenues in Europe alone are expected to top $1 billion.

5 Best Free Streaming Services and Apps

You can find the most influential free ad-supported streaming TV platforms below:

1. Roku

Roku is a popular OTT (over-the-top) device for delivering streaming services to users. Roku (the device) has over 50+ million accounts in the United States.

It’s now the industry’s fifth most popular streaming service, reaching an estimated 70 million viewers in the US.

2. Crackle

According to its LinkedIn bio, Crackle Plus has 30 million active consumers monthly. 

3. Pluto TV

Pluto TV reached nearly 70 million monthly viewers in the world.

4. Amazon Freevee (IMDb TV)

According to Amazon, all of its ad-supported OTT TV reaches more than 120 million monthly viewers. The general trend and figures are rather remarkable.

5. Plex

Plex manages over 200 linear channels as part of its service and has 24.9 million viewers monthly.

From a marketing perspective, ignoring the statistics for free ad-supported TV is impossible.

Numerous players in the FAST channel market are sponsored by deep-pocketed investors eager to continue fueling their development with high-quality original content and licensed classics.

Build Your Profitable Ad Exchange Business With Us!
Receive Free Custom Deployment Calculation

How it works 

For advertisers

Advertisers should familiarize themselves with the FAST landscape in their respective markets, including which platforms are available, how their content offerings show, and who their audiences are.

Ensure you have appropriate advertisement creative. FAST platforms tend to stick with classic TV ad lengths (15 sec or 30 sec).

If you don’t have a suitable ad for TV, you can use other formats, such as channel or program sponsorships. 

The method of purchasing inventory is determined by the platforms you prefer. Primarily, FAST inventory is sold programmatically.

As FAST viewing is more likely to involve multiple viewers, and FAST providers don’t necessarily have access to first-party viewer data, we recommend you use contextual advertising based on program content or channel genre. 

For Publishers

One of the primary reasons publishers are adopting FAST is that many have already invested in video content, which they’ve previously distributed on their own websites or social platforms. 

FAST has demonstrated its ability to get value out of archive content. One of its advantages is that it presents content to viewers on a schedule rather than requiring audiences to find each specific piece of content.

So shows and videos that might otherwise be lost in the publisher’s back catalog can be resurfaced and rediscovered by viewers.

Publishers, particularly broadcasters with available CTV apps, elect to integrate a FAST component into their apps. It provides them greater control over the user experience and advertising sales. Understanding the benefits of ctv advertising can significantly enhance your marketing strategies in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

If you decide to launch your broadcast TV channel, FAST makes it quick and easy. Moreover, it helps you solve technical issues of scheduling and monetizing content. To ensure optimal ad delivery, it’s crucial to control dropped requests and maintain a seamless viewer experience.

Сonsult with FAST service to determine the best monetization option for you.

According to Statista, the programmatic TV advertising revenue worldwide is 171$ billion in 2022. And the revenue is projected to continue growing in the upcoming years.


FAST is one of the most steadily growing methods of media consumption as customers look for wallet-friendly alternatives to high-cost cable packages and multiple streaming services.

FAST allows highly targeted advertising based on audience demographics, interests, and behaviors, resulting in more efficient ad spend. It can reach millions of viewers across multiple devices, giving advertisers excellent campaign outcomes. 

Last but not least, most FAST advertising is enabled by programmatic. Implementing a robust programmatic advertising strategy is key to maximizing the potential of FAST platforms and reaching a broader audience effectively.

Programmatic advertising is key to reaching FAST channels, such as Pluto TV, Plex, Crackle, and others, thus enabling advertisers to automate buying ad placements in real time with improved targeting, cost-effectiveness, and measurability.

Contact us today to learn more about how SmartHub can help boost your ad revenue and grow your business!

Enjoyed the article?
Here you can rate it or share via your favourite social media!

5/5 (5 reviews)

You May Also Like

Want to Learn More?