Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) is a term used to describe subscription-free digital channels that stream ad-supported content via Connected TV devices.
On FAST channels, content plays according to a pre-set schedule with ad breaks. FAST simulates the linear viewing experience of traditional television; however, as it is delivered over IP networks and is based on a one-to-one distribution model, it enables advertisers to use Addressable TV solutions that serve ads targeted to individual users. Many FAST channels focus on specific topics such as automobiles, entertainment, health, science, or food.
Although FAST and Advertiser-funded Video on Demand (AVOD) are both types of free ad-supported streaming services delivered via connected TV devices (not set-top boxes), FAST is delivered according to a pre-set schedule and AVOD is delivered on-demand according to the viewer’s selection.
FAST channels have become well-established in the US and are now growing in momentum around the world, bringing benefits for viewers, advertisers and content owners. FAST channels offer a leaned-back, curated viewing experience, allowing people to simply tune in to their favourite shows on their connected devices without making the choices required by on-demand viewing. As content is delivered online, FAST channels also give advertisers the opportunity to use tech-driven advertising solutions to serve targeted one-to-one ads and maximise ad performance. And content owners can monetise their niche or library content and reach new audiences who may not be subscribing to on-demand platforms.
FAST channels are delivered on distribution platforms such as Pluto TV, Roku, and Rakuten TV, and hardware manufacturers such as Samsung and LG also offer their own device-exclusive FAST channels. Alongside the pre-scheduled linear channels, some FAST services now also offer on-demand options, including pay-per-view and premium ad-free subscriptions. At the same time, in the SVOD arena, some traditionally on-demand providers are now rolling out their own FAST linear channels.