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Research / Insights on current and emerging industry topics

DCN explores the rise of, and best practices for, AVOD and FAST services

October 12, 2022 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

As consumers continue to cut the cord at high levels, we see a rise in the adoption of Connected TV (CTV) and free ad-supported TV streaming (FAST) services. What’s old is new again, and the reinvention of free TV is happening now.

Digital Content Next (DCN) partnered with Magid to uncover insights on how the streaming market is developing and to take advantage of the growth in AVOD and FAST. DCN’s new report, The Rise of and Best Practices for AVOD/FAST, exclusive to DCN members, focuses on FAST and the recent consumer response to these services. The report provides thought leadership and best practices for media brands looking to develop and expand a FAST business model.

The methodology includes:

  1. Qualitative interviews with a subset of senior executives from DCN member organizations and secondary research to provide a competitive analysis, content and monetization strategies, distribution plans, and platform partnerships.
  2. Quantitative survey analysis utilizing Magid’s proprietary Video Entertainment Study (VES) to offer consumer tracking, segmentation, and forecasting models in the AVOD and FAST marketplace.

Growth of AVOD/FAST

A post-pandemic mindset and rising inflation are changing consumer attitudes and needs. We see consumers leaning towards FAST services as they become more mindful of their budgets and cut their pay TV cords.

According to Magid’s proprietary data, 82% of U.S. households consume subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) and have at least one paid streaming service. While the growth in SVOD is near saturation, AVOD and FAST channels on streaming services are growing even faster. Since 2019, AVOD/FAST grew by 55% compared to 28% for SVOD. In fact, most Americans (62%) now report using at least one AVOD or FAST service as subscribers or viewers. 

AVOD Growth bar graphs

AVOD/FAST is now the second most common platform for viewing professional video content among those under 50 and the highest among millennials. The usage growth among 13-24-year-olds is even more pronounced (+15% points since 2020). Media brands must pay attention to the viewing habits of Gen Z, the largest generation, as they mature in the marketplace.

The intention to cut the cord accelerated in 2021 (36% growth among 18–64-year-olds and 70% among 18-34-year-olds between March 2021 and December 2021) and is driving the growth of CTV devices in the home. 

Ad market and business opportunities

According to Variety, the forecast for the advertising revenue of FAST channels in the U.S. will total more than $6.0 billion dollars by 2025. This marks an increase of about $3.0 billion dollars compared with the estimate in 2022. Furthermore, nScreenMedia forecasts that the average CPM will also increase from $14 in 2022 to $18 in 2024 due to targeting and advertiser competition for inventory.

In an increasingly “platform agnostic” world, an important way for media brands to boost relevance is by being omnipresent. Today’s consumers do not care where they get the content they want. AVOD and FAST offer an opportunity to reach untapped audiences and to meet different audiences “where they are.” The growth of AVOD and FAST is creating a bigger pie rather than dividing the pie into narrower slices. Senior executives at DCN member organizations believe AVOD and FAST are more additive than cannibalistic.

AVOD and FAST are growing in audience and influence because they offer affordable and appealing options for consumers to access a wide range of content without paying for a subscription. DCN’s The Rise of and Best Practices for AVOD/FAST identifies essential strategies for media brands to navigate at the forefront of this significant shift in the current video distribution space.

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