With revenues due to hit $12bn by 2027 and over 1500 current channels in the US alone, investment in FAST is fast becoming a no-brainer. Yet, with competition within the US only increasing, content owners should pay attention to the emerging $1.6bn dollar opportunity for FAST channels internationally.
Developing a localization strategy for new regions now can enable owners to land first, benefit from greater content discoverability, and establish relationships with FAST platforms and viewers before markets get saturated.
The size of the opportunity is too big to ignore:
It’s true, monetization is more uncertain in emerging FAST markets. Compared to the US, existing ad-partners face smaller audiences, and less-established advertiser relationships mean content CPMs vary significantly across regions, brands, and content types.
Yet the potential reward of projected CPM growth makes a diversified approach more than worth it. The right strategy for emerging markets like EMEA and LATAM can give content owners first access to substantial audiences with growing CPMs. Given the size of the market in the US, it’s a bet media owners will want to place.
Here’s a look at the top-performing content in FAST growth regions, to help content owners decide on a localization strategy with the best chances of discoverability and the highest ROI.
From 2021 to 2022, FAST grew by 111% in hours of viewing and 510% in ad impressions across EMEA. Monthly users increased by 9% between H1 2021 and H1 2022, with the main growth markets in EU5 (France, UK, Germany, Italy and Spain).
Although the European market still has over 2x fewer channels per service than in the US, FAST platforms like LG, Samsung, Pluto TV and Rakuten TV have all recently increased rollouts in the region. As of October 2022, the above platforms all offered between 45 and 140 FAST channels each in EU5 markets.
And it’s not just the big players making moves: German streaming platform Joyn launched 16 new FAST channels in January 2023, and niche platform Rlaxx TV expanded to service a total of 24 regions across 2022.
Within EMEA, viewers are responding well to factual content. However, there’s a pretty close split between top-performing genres, suggesting the broad appeal of these content types.
LATAM saw a slight decrease in hours of viewing between 2021 and 2022 – down 13% – but continues to see a healthy growth in ad impressions, which rose by 137% within the same period.
LATAM’s large Spanish and Portuguese-speaking populations allow content owners to benefit from broad-scale content distribution and economies of scale. Ad-supported media is already popular in the region, making the FAST model a safe bet.
Providers like PlutoTV and Roku have had wide-scale rollouts across LATAM since 2020. DistroTV’s recent expansion with 20+ new Spanish-language channels and Canela Media’s streaming partnerships point to dynamic growth within the region.
The evergreen popularity of movies makes LATAM a great region to focus on for content owners with a large film back catalog. Across the region, content type is much more varied than in EMEA, making the market a solid bet for content owners with large food, nature and wildlife catalogs.
APAC is the least developed FAST market but is seeing the greatest growth. The region saw a stunning 320% growth in hours of viewing between 2021 and 2022, with an 891% increase in ad impressions.
The high growth in the region comes, however, with market volatility. As FAST is less established in APAC, content owners looking to the region should be prepared for monetization opportunities to be more uncertain.
With its wide appeal and obvious relevance, it's no surprise news comes out on top in this emerging market. Because of this popularity, expect platforms to look for ways to differentiate their factual content. Content owners who can provide a unique angle on top genres, such as highly localized news or exclusive sports partnerships, could benefit from greater monetization opportunities.
Why do audience viewing habits matter?
As established and emerging platforms alike look to attract and engage audiences, expect top-performing genres to see the most demand. Content owners with existing news, documentary, sports or entertainment catalogs would do well to look to the international FAST opportunity while platforms still look to increase their channels and licensing.
Those without this sort of broad appeal content should consider licensing to smaller platforms that cater to specific niches for access to highly engaged audiences. In LATAM, for example, DistroTV increases viewer engagement and commands high CPMs for less in-demand genres by catering to long-tail audiences with exclusively licensed content.
As platforms look for ways to differentiate and increase market share, content owners will need to carefully consider how they window content for maximized engagement and returns. This is especially true given the growth in platform owned and operated channels, which is likely to result in increased demand for exclusive content windows from FAST platforms or a push to license content with existing brand equity, for example Jamie Oliver in the food space.
Paying attention to the demand for particular genres, and creating a strategy that makes the most of their content’s differentiators, will set content owners up for success when licensing internationally.