As people take a closer look at their budgets, options for entertainment like free ad-supported television - otherwise known as FAST - have become more popular.
“I think FAST is here, and it hasn't reached a critical mass,” said Sang Kim, senior vice president of Samsung Electronics America. “I think there's a lot more headroom, but I think it's here to stay.”
According to Statista’s Global Consumer Survey, only six percent of people said they don’t have plans to scale back on spending but two-thirds said subscriptions and contracts were most likely to be cut, the top category that faces the ax from budgets.
Connecting with over 465 million devices worldwide as well as adding an opportunity to stream online, Samsung TV Plus has been offering free programming to people in 24 countries. More than 220 channels are offered in the U.S., some coming from network partners like AMC Networks, A+E, NBC News Now, ABC News Live and Cheddar News. It observed a 100 percent growth in consumer viewing over the past 12 months, with customers viewing three billion hours around the world.
Samsung uses its own proprietary data to help surface the right shows that its customers may want to watch, based on past behavior.
“It's the type of content that the audience might not have been able to discover,” Kim explained. “The streaming platform enables us to bring that content to the stream to find the audience so that it's easily discoverable and (they can start) engaging with the content instantly.”
This data can also be great for brands trying to reach the right customer. It can change the ad load, or the number of advertisements shown to an audience, based on demand. This helps create a better experience for the person watching.
“Streaming is actually making advertising more interesting,” he said.
In the future, Kim believes FAST won’t be applicable to television, but for other forms of media like gaming. Earlier this year, the company launched Samsung Gaming Hub where all offerings are cloud based. All a player needs to do is provide their own controller. The technology has advanced to the point where there’s very little delay or lag with streamed games.
“If you look back 10 years ago, where streaming was for media, we hardly ever access and reach out for physical media anymore, both in music and in video,” he explained. “I think that's where the technology is headed for gaming as well.”