FAST: a bird, a fox, & a mouse walk into a bar…

In the past 18 months, Peacock has launched 70 original series, grown its catalog by more than 500%, and is on track for 5 billion hours of streaming in 2022, which would double levels in 2021. Experts attribute success in part to 3-tier options: FAST, AVOD and SVOD. FAST is free ad-supported television. FAST players are Peacock, Fox-owned Tubi, Disney’s PlutoTV, and Amazon’s Freevee (formerly IMDbTV). Fox-owned Tubi has the largest library with 40,000 titles, entering the originals space last fall with more than 100 titles planned in 2022, doubling its offerings. Tubi has 51mm active users with 3.6 billion hours watched in 2021, up from 40% in 2020. Amazon’s Freevee offers 75 channels, expanding its originals slate by 70%, and will be licensing exclusive pay windows for titles from the Universal catalog. For FAST platforms, emphasis seems on the television experience and original series than on star talent or deals.

Peacock is perhaps the biggest player in the FAST space and grew subscribers (in contrast to Netflix) in Q1 2022. It now boasts roughly 28mm U.S. subscribers and will be the exclusive destination platform for next-day broadcast to NBC linear content. With the brunt of its subscribers base on the AVOD plan, the strategy is to serve as an extension of NBC linear programming, leveraging advertising. With 50-60 more original series planned for 2022, it seems like the best time to subscribe will be this fall (unless you came onboard for Super Bowl or Winter Olympics). Lionsgate signed a multiyear output deal with Peacock for all theatrically released films starting with its 2022 slate, with an exclusive pay 2 window for NBCUniversal networks starting in 2024 and including franchises such as the John Wick series, Hunger Games prequel, Expendables 4, and others. Lionsgate also inked an exclusive AVOD output deal (+200 titles) with Tubi for 30, feature films not covered under the first screening on Starz before they leave for Roku’s ad-supported channel and finally landing on Peacock. Lionsgate acquired Starz in 2016 for $4.4 billion dollars and is seeking to sell it this summer. The Roku Channel has more than 275 live, linear channels and 80,000+ on demand offerings, reaching 80mm households as of the end of 2021.

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