Six-in-ten connected-TV households now watch a free ad-supported streaming service on television, according to data from TDG, a division of Screen Engine-ASI. YouTube remains the dominant FVOD provider, with free ad-supported streaming TV services (FASTs) such as Pluto TV and IMDb enjoying growing audiences.
TDG research also finds that, among those that view free ad-supported streaming video on TV, 24% do so daily and another 32% weekly, while the remaining 44% view monthly or less. At the same time, 76% of those that view free ad-supported streaming video services on TV watch YouTube, more than twice the audience of its closest competitors.
Among free ad-supported streaming-TV providers (FASTs), Pluto TV leads the pack, followed by Tubi TV. However, when asked about the role of free ad-supported streaming services within their household’s total TV viewing, only one-in-eight Pluto and Tubi subscribers use the service as their first choice for shows.
“Clearly the effects of work-from-home and lack of traditional leisure options during the pandemic accelerated consumer use of free ad-supported streaming services. Most major video providers have been preparing for this moment for years and thus able to quickly adapt to an accelerated timeline. It is a unique moment in the history of the entertainment business, and those who move quickly and boldly will likely reap the benefits for years to come,” said Doug Montgomery, Senior Analyst of TDG.
Montgomery notes that while there is "a kaleidoscope of new providers," pricing plans, and content sources available to the CTV viewers, yesterday’s video revenue models persist — that is, à la carte, subscription, and free. "Technologies may change, but the fundamental revenue models do not,” he assures.
He also recognizes widespread confusion among both industry and popular press as to what AVOD actually means. Two distinct streaming-video revenue models, FVOD and FASTs, are folded under the AVOD umbrella, when in fact any streaming revenue model can have an advertising component. “Advertising, then, should be understood not as a vertical but rather as a common revenue model that all verticals can leverage for revenue,” he explained.
“Just as with broadcast and cable, advertising-based revenue models span both on-demand and live (e.g., FVOD IMDb and vMPVD Sling TV), as well as transactional, subscription, and free distribution models (e.g., TVOD Vudu, SVOD Netflix, and YouTube). Thus, the ‘AVOD’ acronym should be eliminated from industry vocabulary and ‘ad-supported streaming video’ used in its place,” Montgomery concluded.
Clearly the effects of work-from-home and lack of traditional leisure options during the pandemic accelerated consumer use of free ad-supported streaming services” Doug Montgomery Senior Analyst of TDG