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How CTV OEMs Impact FAST Success

Seventy percent of FAST channel viewing happens on connected TVs, and the vast array of FAST channels that quietly insinuate themselves into viewers’ living rooms as soon as they plug in their Samsung and LG CTV sets are the most accessible and easily tracked FAST viewing experiences imaginable, as they require no additional app installations to gain front-and-center visibility. How critical is the preeminence of specific CTV OEM brands in the success of FAST channels? Chris Pfaff, CEO, Chris Pfaff Tech Media, Producers Guild of America (PGA), VR AR Association (VRARA), discusses the market dynamics of FAST and the CTV ecosystem with Alan Wolk, Co-Founder/Lead Analyst, TVREV, in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Pfaff mentions that OEMs such as Samsung TV Plus have risen to prominence for FAST by including built-in FAST channels on their devices. He asks Wolk for his thoughts on FAST and TV OEMs.

“The TV OEMs have made their fast services through the centerpiece of their experience,” Wolk says. “Also, they mix in the subscription services in there, it's a really smart way to get engagement [and to] raise revenue. They can allow the Netflixes and Maxes of the world to promote their shows right on the home screen. And it looks like it's very personalized. It’s very similar to when you go to your Amazon homepage, and I suspect most people don't realize, ‘Oh, those are actually paid,’ as opposed to, ‘Oh nice. Mr. Bezos knows I like coffee, and he puts some coffee mugs on my homepage. That's so cool. I might buy one.’ Same thing. It's like, ‘Oh, they know I like comedy. So they're recommending comedies to me, and they don't even get the transaction, which is great for everybody.”

Pfaff mentions that Amazon also has Freevee.

“They hide that!” Wolk says. “Which is brilliant in a sense. I would bet you that maybe 10% of the people who watch Freevee are aware that they're watching Freevee. Amazon's been sort of baffling. Some of the shows are free, and some you have to pay for. I don't really know why, but I don't really care. I mostly have it to get the free two-day delivery. So then this option comes up, or watch free with ads, and you're like, ‘Great, but it's in Prime.’ And it says with Freevee, but you think, ‘Oh, that's just some funny term they came up with to say free TV. And you don't even realize it’s a separate app. Although they are the one FAST that's had a hit show. So go figure.”

Pfaff notes that, “What we don't consider a hit may be wildly successful with a small audience. I know some FAST channels who have great distribution and all it takes is one hit to put things over.”

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