New research from Omdia has revealed that Free Ad-Supported Television (FAST)’s growth in the US is being powered by a small number of players with the top five channels accounting for more than 20% of monthly consumption.
Sharing exclusive new insights at the annual Media & Leaders Entertainment Summit on November 7 in London, Omdia Senior Director in Media and Entertainment Maria Rua Aguete said: “Although FAST has become one of the most discussed growth opportunities over the past three years in the US with over 1600 channels now available in US, Omdia research in partnership with PlumResearch has found that growth is thanks to the huge reach of a handful of channels.”
Omdia data suggests Paramount Global, and its Pluto TV division have staked a considerable claim on audiences with the top five US channels all owned by the studio.
Pluto TV Spotlight, Star Trek, Pluto TV Action, Pluto TV Reaction and Pluto TV Comedy accounted for 21% of consumption across the top 100 FAST channels in the US in August 2023, while the top 20 channels accounted for around half of all FAST visits in that month.
Pluto TV and Paramount-owned FAST channels also took the top five spots in the FAST consumption charts in June and July. These channels are offering strong IP and elements of exclusivity which are becoming important to key to channel operators.
“Content discoverability has become a vital tool for channel owners as the FAST ecosystem has mushroomed,” said Rua Aguete.
“Twenty channels now represent around 50% of FAST viewing in the US, so we are likely to see a lot more consolidation in future as the importance of offering strong IP – such as Star Trek – on an exclusive basis grows.”
The number of channels is still rising. Between Q1 and 2023, major FAST services Samsung TV Plus, Pluto TV, Freevee and others increased the size of their channel catalogs, though ViX and LG Channels saw slight reductions. Omdia