Amazon signals shift to free ad-supported TV at NewFronts.

In this article The shift to free ad-supported TV (FAST) is coming With FAST comes channels The average Linear TV viewer in the US is in their mid to late 50s

IAB NewFronts is an annual marketing event held in New York city, which gives media buyers a first glimpse at industry innovations in content and ads, from companies in the media and entertainment spaces.

With video commerce high on many brands’ priorities for Q3 and beyond, Will Margaritis, SVP of Global Commerce Solutions at Reprise Commerce made his way to Amazon NewFront to keep up to date with all the latest and greatest content developments.

Here’s what he found out…

The shift to free ad-supported TV (FAST) is coming

In a challenging economic climate, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that people are regularly switching streaming services.

As prices rise, consumers are more likely to pick one or two services, sign up for a month, watch the content they want to watch, and then cancel when the show ends.

This is particularly true for younger demographics, and in response, we’re seeing premium services rush to launch free (or discounted) ad-supported alternatives.

This means content once gated behind a paywall, without ads, will now be something advertisers can buy space in. Millions of hours of eyeballs are going to be available to advertisers.

With FAST comes channels

Amazon also announced that they will dramatically increase the number of channels available on FreeVee. Channels are, in some ways, a reversion to the mean.

Previously, consumers would put a channel on as ‘background noise’. This offered a low-effort way to watch TV, but also an opportunity to discover something new.

With Premium Streaming, we shifted to high effort. Consumers needed to pick something to watch, and we’ve all felt the agony of not being able to find something we either felt was worthy of our attention, or that we currently had the attention to give what it deserved.

Channels on FAST bring us back around to being able to effortlessly pick a channel and leave it on for hours.  For advertisers, this also means we need to accept that we’re likely getting less attention than on a freemium such as Hulu.

At the same time, the attention is likely comparable to linear TV, and advertising did very well with that for decades. This is akin to linear TV, with targeting and personalization added on top.

The average Linear TV viewer in the US is in their mid to late 50s

This is the demographic CTV doesn’t reach as well yet, but they’re still a valuable demographic. While Amazon didn’t spell this out, FreeVee does look like an attempt to reach them – along with Gen Z and families.

Between the comfort of channels and scheduled programming loaded with staple shows, FreeVee hits many of the notes people once associated with linear TV.

For brands that appeal to an older demographic, this represents a huge opportunity to bring targeting and personalization to a new audience.

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