The State of the FAST Ad Market

FAST Key Trends
Yinchen Niu/VIP+

In this article

  • What VIP+ estimates the FAST ad market to be worth in the U.S.
  • How FAST ad impressions have grown
  • The top 10 categories for ad spend on Pluto and Tubi combined

That free ad-supported streaming TV represents an opportunity for media companies to monetize their existing content libraries, and create new revenue streams, is undeniable.

AMC Networks and A+E Networks, two of FAST’s biggest embracers from traditional media, have already announced plans to expand their FAST channel lineups in 2022. This comes before the NewFronts, which are widely expected to see heightened advertiser interest in FAST.

Data provided to VIP+ by media and tech consultancy firm Omdia show that FAST is estimated to increase the share of total linear (i.e., preprogrammed) advertising in the U.S. through 2025. While linear TV will remain with the lion’s share of linear ad dollars, Omdia’s forecast indicates FAST will continue its ascent.

The value of the total U.S. TV ad market is estimated by eMarketer to be worth $85.3 billion in 2022 and to rise by $8 billion or 9.4% by 2025. Among its constituent parts, connected TV (CTV) is a growth engine forecast to increase by $10.1 billion (+58%) over the same period, with linear TV declining by $2 billion (-2.9%) as audiences continue to alter their viewing habits.

Based upon the datasets from Omdia and eMarketer, VIP+ has created its own estimates for the U.S. FAST market. In the best-case scenario, the FAST market will be worth $6.1 billion by 2025, representing an increase of 763% from 2019’s baseline level of $706 million.

The more conservative estimate sees the ad market for FAST worth $5.3 billion in 2025, a gain of 646% from 2019. Either way, the FAST market is increasing in value — and a key reason why it’s important to launch channels and become established sooner than later.

This growth is apparent in data provided exclusively to VIP+ from CTV solutions firm Wurl. The number of ad impressions — each time an ad is displayed onscreen — among the hundreds of FAST channels Wurl powers has increased by almost 10 times from the baseline level two years ago.

To assess what is currently advertising on FAST, VIP+ turned to Sensor Tower, which provided exclusive data regarding the ad categories with greatest spend on Pluto and Tubi, two of FAST’s biggest services. In essence, it already mirrors that of traditional TV, as financial services, CPG, cars, health and wellness and food and drink are the greatest spenders.

This is a good sign for FAST, suggesting that ad buyers are already acknowledging the benefits FAST brings, namely increased audience reach. In VIP+’s recent “FAST Marketplace” webinar, AMC Networks SVP of advanced advertising Evan Adlman noted there was very low audience duplication between viewers of AMC’s cable networks and those of its FAST networks. This is a big reason why FAST is so attractive to advertisers.

The FAST ad market, therefore, can be seen as one that is in robust health and will continue to grow in the coming years. That said, for media companies VIP+ has previously noted to be shy about FAST, namely Disney and newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery, now surely is the time to jump in and make the most of the opportunities FAST offers.