The Central and Eastern European (CEE) market is on track to reach US$42 million in free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) revenues by 2028, according to new research from Omdia. CEE joins a buoyant market currently dominated by the United States, with rapid expansion from the UK, Canada, and Australia expected over the next four years.
“Though CEE is present in the FAST race, growth will be limited compared to other regions. Traditional linear TV and social video have typically driven video advertising revenues in CEE, which have generated US$5.6 billion and US$1.1 billion, respectively. Pay TV is still growing in this market alongside a strong traditional free-to-air viewing model. This region’s online advertising market is a lot less developed compared to their Western Europe counterparts, and there is currently no ecosystem or marketplace that can provide premium ad-supported advertising video on demand (AVOD) and FAST services. A combination of these factors has resulted in reduced consumer interest in FAST,” said Maria Rua Aguete, Senior Director at Omdia, during NEM (New Europe Market) 2023 in Dubrovnik.
Regarding players, Rakuten and Plex are the only FAST platforms available in CEE. A few local providers exist, such as Kabaret TV in Poland, but overall, the FAST market is nascent in the Central and Eastern European region.
Due to CEE’s current smaller market size, the international FAST channel operators have not launched their channels in the region. ITV Studios cited cost of dubbing as the reason for not yet launching FAST in Italy or Spain, meaning CEE markets with multiple languages will lag even further behind.
“Several of these dynamics underline the low cost and minimal investment required for FAST to succeed across the CEE market. Artificial intelligence is a technology channel operator DAZN is looking into as a means to provide cost-effective dubbing. This is definitely a market to watch over the coming years,” Rua Aguete concluded.