FAST Is Making Streaming TV Look More Like Traditional TV

'Barbie Girl' on Vevo
'Barbie Girl' on Vevo (Image credit: Vevo)

A new study suggests that streaming television is starting to look a lot like old-fashioned television, with viewers flipping apps (instead of channels) and watching commercials.

The study, The State of Modern TV Viewership, conducted by Vevo and Publicis Media, found that more than 50% of millennial and Gen X viewers watch free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels monthly, with 89% of viewers saying they think FAST delivers great value.

The study found that only 7% of FAST viewers skipped commercials, with 75% of respondents saying they enjoy a healthy mix of content with and without ads.

With the number of FAST channels exploding, content discovery becomes an important factor.

FAST channels that are preloaded onto sets by smart TV makers have a big advantage, with 49% of viewers saying they discovered the FAST channels they watched because they found apps on their TVs.

Browsing is also becoming big, with 36% of Gen X viewers saying they flip through apps before deciding what to watch, rather than selecting a specific service or program.

Vevo Publicis Study

(Image credit: Vevo)

“The lines are blurring between app flipping and TV channel flipping — and viewers are super-comfortable cycling through several services and their favorite shows and channels within those services,” Vevo senior VP, research & marketing Julie Triolo said. “Viewers indicate the ease of discovery and quality of FAST programming compels them to stick around in ad-supported TV streaming environments.”

The study also found that 80% of viewers most often watch TV programming on a television set. Viewers said that if they have to watch commercials, 49% prefer pre-roll ads to messages that interrupt programs.

“TV remains the destination for viewing content - as the standard definition for TV, and the way it has evolved has given rise to new ways for consumers to tune into content they love,” Publicis Media VP, marketplace intelligence Megan Halscheid said. “While Millennials and Gen X audiences indicate similar TV-viewing preferences, it will be interesting to follow the evolution of these trends as Gen Z matures and FAST viewing increases. We’re excited to apply these insights into our planning for smarter, more effective investments that really resonate with consumers.”

Julie Triolo

Julie Triolo (Image credit: Vevo)

“For those who love FAST, they assert it’s great to watch day after day,“ she added. “This is a compelling insight as it shows that FAST are growing in terms of viewership, and have the opportunity to build affinity with audiences similar to traditional TV channels. However, the opportunity is in many ways still in its infancy, with huge potential on both the content and supplier side,” add Triolo. “This is just one of the reasons that Vevo has been pushing forward with a ubiquitous distribution strategy so our premium content can meet audiences where they are.”

For the study, 163 online interviews were conducted among viewers 18 to 54 who streamed an hour or more of video per week. The data was collected between Late December 2022 and early January 2023.

The study also conducted 11 60-minute Zoom interviews to give researchers a richer understanding of video consumption.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.