Pixalate, the market-leading fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics platform for Connected TV (CTV) and Mobile Advertising, today released the January 2023 CTV FAST Apps Report. The report examines the characteristics of Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) apps and surfaces programmatic ad insights across Roku and Amazon Fire TV apps.
FAST is a form of content delivery where the viewer is able to access “linear” content without paying for a subscription. This means that the content is presented in the form of channels, where the same content is streamed to all users of a given channel at a given time. Instead of the viewers paying a subscription, this content is supported purely by ad revenue.
As more and more consumers “cut the cord,” numerous streaming services have flooded the market. With users signing up for multiple different monthly-fee services, because of the breakdown of programming, for many streaming is starting to get as expensive as cable bundles used to be. FAST apps are a response to this sentiment, providing users with free (but ad-supported) video streaming services– much like traditional analog television with ad breaks built into programming. These services are attractive to advertisers because of their wide reach.
- In January 2023, FAST apps accounted for 43 of the top 100 apps ranked by impression volume on Amazon Fire TV and 24 of top 100 apps on Roku found to be FAST apps.
- Pluto, Tubi and Sling land on both the Roku and Fire TV lists for January 2023.
- Invalid Traffic (IVT) rates on FAST apps appear to be lower compared to non-FAST apps on Roku at 10% vs 16%. IVT levels are relatively the same for both FAST and non-FAST apps at ~8% on Fire TV.
Pixalate combined different definitions of FAST apps and made some distinctions to simplify the understanding of what they encompass:
- Any app that has a FAST option (linear, free, ad-supported) is a FAST app – even if it has other forms of delivery like Video On Demand (VOD) or price-tiering (paid options in addition to the free option).
- Not all Advertising-Based Video On Demand (AVOD) apps are FAST apps, since they may not be linear or may not have free tiers.
- Virtual MultiChannel Video Programming Distributor (vMPVD) apps are not automatically considered FAST apps. They are only included if they have a fully free option, i.e. Sling TV.
- The linear requirement eliminates apps like Netflix and Crackle since they are on demand only.
It should be noted that FAST channels and apps are two separate concepts. There are 1400+ FAST Channels, according to various reports, but a much smaller number of FAST apps hosting said channels for the viewer to download and use. This is especially confusing on Roku, where FAST channels and apps are grouped together in search results. Pixalate did not consider the Roku FAST channels individually, since they all appear to fall under the Roku app.
FAST App Stats
Pixalate measured open programmatic impressions on the top Roku and Fire TV FAST apps (defined by the methodology above) over the month of January 2023. The following are some of the most interesting insights found:
Top FAST apps with open programmatic advertising, January 2023:
- Pluto TV
- Sling TV
- Tubi – Free Movies & TV
Amazon Fire TV
- Pluto TV – It’s Free TV
- Tubi – Watch Free Movies & TV Shows
- Sling TV
- Local Now Plus – Free News, Weather
Pixalate’s list of the top 15 FAST apps on Roku and Fire TV available for download here. The download includes the common bundleIDs used to reference these apps in open programmatic ad requests, and also links to Pixalate’s Media Ratings Terminal, which contains more details about each app.
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