Major FAST channel providers in the United States added a significant number of channels to their offerings from March to June 2023. Roku added the most, at 60 channels, enabling it to remain ahead of competitors in terms of the number of channels offered, with 377 in total as of Q2 2023 – second only to Plex (445 channels), Ampere Analysis revealed in its latest report.
Roku’s channel growth was achieved primarily by the addition of local news channels, an area in which competitors Samsung TV+ and Tubi offer a large selection of over 100 channels each. In addition to news channels, Roku added a number of channels from Warner Bros. Discovery, including 14 TV channels across a range of genres such as Documentary (WB TV Mysteries), Lifestyle (WB TV Sweet Escapes) and Reality (WB TV Love & Marriage). None of these channels are exclusive, however, having been available already on rival Tubi in the first quarter, with 11 of the channels also added to Freevee in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Samsung TV+’s channel expansion was also mainly driven by addition of local news channels, while Tubi had the highest proportion of single IP channels added, many centred around popular UK-produced series including “Midsomer Murders,” “Four in a Bed” (All3 Media) and “Great British Menu” (BBC).
“However, not all platforms are investing as much in growing their FAST channel catalogues,” noted Lottie Towler, Principal Analyst at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report. For Peacock, for example, the focus is not on growing the number of channels available via licensing a large number third-party channels, and instead strategy centres around a small number of owned channels, providing additional value to the on-demand catalogue. Given this, the second quarter saw just one channel change, as Peacock swapped out the previously available Race Against Crime to Law & Crime.
Unlike fellow smart TV manufacturer Samsung, which added 30 channels, LG saw no change in channel line-up, and the total number of channels available (170) is less than half of Samsung’s (348). Among the various US FAST providers, Stirr showed the biggest change in strategy, as it removed a significant number of channels, including six of its own thematic channels (such as StirrWesterns and StirrMovies), suggesting it is scaling back its FAST channel offering, likely due to insufficient consumer engagement.