The booming free ad-supported (FAST) channel market may be about to get a lot more competitive, following news that Google-owned YouTube is testing a new service built around FAST TV channels.
The new service would take the form of a hub, similar in concept to existing FAST platforms like Pluto TV or smart TV services such as Samsung TV Plus, according to The Wall Street Journal, which broke the news.
The WSJ quotes an unnamed source as saying that the new FAST hub could roll out more widely this year. YouTube is reportedly testing with Lionsgate and A+E Networks.
YouTube’s expansion into FAST would come as no surprise given that the market is accelerating so rapidly in terms of number of channels, range of platforms and international expansion.
With smart TV penetration increasing and advertisers getting on board in ever greater numbers, a lot more growth is anticipated. However, increased growth is being met with intensifying competition, as subscription streamers like Netflix and Disney+ also start chasing ad dollars via their new hybrid platforms.
YouTube already operates its live TV service, YouTube TV, and has been busy looking for ways to leverage its brand name in other potential revenue-generating areas. In recent weeks, it made its biggest move yet into sports rights, suggesting that it still has ambitions in subscription-based streaming. In February, it will also launch a new ad monetisation model for YouTube Shorts.