Note: The following is based upon content from Variety Intelligence Platform’s special report devoted to exploring free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST), available exclusively to subscribers.
Given that most discussion about FAST centers on TV shows, movies and news, it may come as a surprise to learn there is a thriving music scene within the linear channels of free ad-supported streaming TV.
The most common genre among music is video, which has increased from 33 to 47 from January to June, an increase of 42%. The second largest music genre is audio-only channels, with 26 available in June. Channels based on concerts and karaoke round out the genre.
The demise of music video channels on cable TV suggested the format was over, yet the success of Vevo online shows that consumers still want to engage with the format. Data from VIP+’s “Demographic Divide” study, a partnership with GetWizer, shows the majority of those under 60 say they watch music videos, with this strongest among 15-29s and 30-44s and dominated by YouTube.
There are a number of companies with extensive channel offerings on FAST, several of which distribute both to FAST and provide music for businesses like supermarkets, retail and airports. Canadian-based audio giant Stingray have the most available, at 19, followed by internet music video giant Vevo, which currently has 12. Music channel distributor Loop have 10 FAST channels to choose from, followed by iHeart (8), MTV (4) and Dutch music platform Xite (4).
Why are more and more music channels being launched? In short, because being available on FAST services expands reach. If a consumer has opened a FAST platform and is browsing to find something to play, they will already not be listening to the radio or online streams.
With one of the need states driving FAST use to provide background noise, music is a great choice to include within lineups. Consumers are also presented with numerous recognizable music brands, further enticing them to watch.
Music may not be the primary driver for FAST, but the fact that the number of channels continues to grow underscores that viewers are responding. The next step will be the syndication of live feeds for radio stations, which will occur within the next 12 months.
Recognizing that consumers have app fatigue and working with this by making music channels available within FAST services will grow audiences (and revenues) for channel operators. Expect to see music’s FAST presence continue to expand.
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