Google TV leans into FAST channels to expand ad opportunities

The news: Google has launched an ad platform for smart TVs and streaming devices running on Google TV. Marketers can place unskippable in-stream ads on over 125 live channels, many from the growing free ad-supported television (FAST) sectors. Home screen and masthead placements are also available.

  • Google’s smart TV and Android TV OS devices have 20 million monthly users; combined with YouTube's 150 million viewers, the potential reach offered to advertisers is substantial.
  • On average, users spend about 75 minutes daily watching free shows on Google TV, highlighting the significant engagement opportunities for advertisers.
  • This new ad network is seamlessly integrated with Google Ads and Google Display & Video 360, enabling marketers to easily add Google TV to their existing campaigns. Ads can now be displayed across various networks and third-party apps on Google TV, broadening the scope for targeted advertising.

Zoom out: The rise of FAST channels has been a notable US trend as rising costs of subscription-based services lead consumers to alternatives.

  • Services like Amazon's Freevee, Pluto, Tubi, and Roku have all experienced significant growth, making the Google TV network a timely addition for advertisers seeking to capitalize on this shift.

Why it matters: The Google TV network offers numerous benefits for advertisers, including access to a large and diverse audience at a lower cost.

  • Unskippable ads on Google TV’s free streaming channels provide a substantial inventory of cheaper advertising opportunities, allowing brands to reach viewers in a passive, background-like manner.
  • Advertising on FAST platforms is relatively cost-effective. CPMs for ads on FAST services range from $10 to $15, significantly lower than the $25 to $47 CPMs on premium streamers like Hulu and Netflix. This affordability makes FAST an attractive option for advertisers looking to maximize their reach without breaking the bank.
  • Many cord-cutters want an experience like traditional TV, with continuous content and ads serving as background noise during tasks like ironing. This "lean away TV" approach lets viewers look away without missing key plot points.

Our take: As Google continues to expand its CTV presence, it faces competition from players like Amazon and Roku. Still, its vast YouTube audience and innovative AI technologies position it well.

  • Looking ahead, Google's commitment to ongoing innovation suggests that the Google TV network will continue to evolve, offering new and improved ways for advertisers to engage with viewers.
  • The rise of unskippable ads on FAST platforms offers a significant opportunity for brands previously unable to afford video advertising. Print ads have historically dominated due to high video production costs. Now, the ease of creating videos and ad buying has democratized this ad format, giving brands new storytelling avenues to reach wider audiences.

Go further: Read our FAQ on Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV.