Data Drop: 5 Charts on the Rise of Free Ad-Supported TV

A FAST primer

Time spent by US TV viewers with free ad-supported TV (FAST) platforms now rivals that of some major subscription video on demand players, according to June data from Nielsen. For example, Tubi’s share of time spent with TV for the month was 1.4%, higher than Paramount+ (1.0%) and equal to Max (1.4%), per Nielsen. Paramount snapped up Pluto TV in 2019, while Fox acquired Tubi a year later, kicking off rising interest in FAST services among advertisers, TV industry professionals, and cord-cutters alike. Below are five charts to help you understand the growth of FAST.

FAST will reach over 100 million viewers this year.

  • We estimate FAST services will be used by 29.6% of the US population this year, driven by their accessibility (some FAST channels come pre-installed on smart TVs), large and diverse content libraries, and consumer fatigue for subscription services amid an uncertain economy.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 US consumers has dropped a paid subscription service in favor of a free ad-supported one in the past six months due to economic conditions, according to a November 2022 Deloitte survey. Although FAST viewers will more than triple since 2018 to 100.6 million this year, they will still be eclipsed by subscription services in terms of total number of viewers—Disney+ alone will have 112.7 viewers this year.