Pixalate’s January 2023 CTV FAST Apps Report explores the ad traffic characteristics of Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) apps and surfaces interesting programmatic ad insights across Roku and Amazon Fire TV apps.
What are FAST Apps?
FAST (Free Ad-Supported TV) is a form of content delivery where the viewer is able to access “linear” content without paying for a subscription. “Linear” means that the content is presented in the form of channels, and the same content is streamed to all users of a given channel at a given time. Instead of the viewers paying for a subscription, this content is supported by ad revenue.
Why are FAST Apps important?
In recent years, the trend of “cutting the cord” has resulted in a proliferation of streaming services. This has led to the sentiment that signing up to streaming services is starting to get as expensive as cable bundles used to be. FAST apps appear to be thriving in response to this sentiment, providing users with free (but ad-supported) video streaming services.
Consumer adoption of FAST apps accelerated during the height of the COVID pandemic, and they are now widely available with significant user bases, making FAST apps attractive to advertisers.
Pixalate’s definition and methodology to identify FAST apps
We have seen a number of different definitions of FAST apps from various sources. For the purposes of this report, we made some distinctions that we believe will help our understanding of FAST apps:
Additionally, it’s important to note that FAST channels and apps are separate concepts. There are 1,400+ 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. We don’t consider the Roku FAST channels individually, since they all appear to fall under the Roku app.
A quick breakdown of FAST Apps by the numbers
Pixalate measured open programmatic impressions on the top Roku and Amazon Fire TV FAST apps (defined by the methodology above) in January 2023 and found:
Pixalate estimates that in January 2023, 65% of open programmatic ad impression volume on the Fire TV platform, and 27% on Roku, went to FAST apps.
Similarly, Pixalate estimates that 42% of open programmatic ad spend on the Fire TV platform, and 18% on Roku, go to FAST apps.
IVT on FAST apps on Roku appeared to have lower IVT at 10.6%, compared to 16.6% for non-FAST apps during January 2023. On FireTV the rates on both FAST and non-FAST apps appeared to be similar, at around 8%.
Top FAST apps with open programmatic advertising, January 2023:
Amazon Fire TV
*Sling TV traffic volume included their non-FAST channels for the purpose of this report.
Our list of top 15 FAST apps on Roku and Fire TV can be found in the downloadable report linked below. The download includes:
Pixalate is the market-leading fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics platform for Connected TV (CTV) and Mobile Advertising. We work 24/7 to guard your reputation and grow your media value. Pixalate offers the only system of coordinated solutions across display, app, video, and CTV for better detection and elimination of ad fraud. Pixalate is an MRC-accredited service for the detection and filtration of sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) across desktop and mobile web, mobile in-app, and CTV advertising. www.pixalate.com
The content of this press release, and the January 2023 CTV FAST Apps Report (the “Report”), reflect Pixalate's opinions with respect to factors that Pixalate believes may be useful to the digital media industry. Pixalate’s opinions are just that, opinions, which means that they are neither facts nor guarantees; and neither this press release nor the Report are intended to impugn the standing or reputation of any entity, person or app, but instead, to report findings and apparent trends pertaining to CTV apps from the Roku and Amazon Fire TV app stores. Pixalate's datasets — which are used exclusively to derive these insights — consist predominantly of buy-side open auction programmatic traffic sources.
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Disclaimer: The content of this page reflects Pixalate’s opinions with respect to the factors that Pixalate believes can be useful to the digital media industry. Any proprietary data shared is grounded in Pixalate’s proprietary technology and analytics, which Pixalate is continuously evaluating and updating. Any references to outside sources should not be construed as endorsements. Pixalate’s opinions are just that - opinion, not facts or guarantees.
Per the MRC, “'Fraud' is not intended to represent fraud as defined in various laws, statutes and ordinances or as conventionally used in U.S. Court or other legal proceedings, but rather a custom definition strictly for advertising measurement purposes. Also per the MRC, “‘Invalid Traffic’ is defined generally as traffic that does not meet certain ad serving quality or completeness criteria, or otherwise does not represent legitimate ad traffic that should be included in measurement counts. Among the reasons why ad traffic may be deemed invalid is it is a result of non-human traffic (spiders, bots, etc.), or activity designed to produce fraudulent traffic.”