The taxonomy of streaming video services is expanding. Historically, the market was split between ad-supported services offering videos for people to watch on-demand, otherwise known as AVOD services such as YouTube, and subscription-based services offering videos for people to watch on demand, like Netflix’s SVOD service. Then came virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs), like Sling TV and YouTube TV, that offer pay-TV services and aren’t much different than cable or satellite TV providers except that people can stream these services over the internet instead of through a set-top box. But this year a new term has emerged to describe a rising class of streaming video services that do not neatly fit into any of the aforementioned groups. We break down FAST.
WTF is FAST?
FAST – It stands for free, ad-supported streaming TV and refers to services like Roku’s Roku Channel, Amazon’s IMDb TV, Walmart’s Vudu, Viacom’s Pluto TV, Xumo and Tubi that stream the kind of programming that people normally would have to pay to watch on TV, like old shows and movies available on demand, and/or combine a mix of TV and digital video programming into TV-like linear channels. Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst at consulting firm TVRev, appears to have been the one to coin the term in an article published in January 2019, but it’s taken off to the point that a TV network executive believed they had come up with it when they said it on stage at an event earlier this summer.