IAB: U.S. Digital Advertising Hit Record $225 Billion Last Year

Internet advertising revenues hit a record $225 billion in the U.S. in 2023, a 7.3 percent increase, according to a PwC report for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The connected TV and audio categories saw double-digit growth, as did spending on e-commerce platforms, classified “retail media,” which rose 16.3 percent year-over-year, reaching $43.7 billion in 2023 as key players expanded their ad inventory. Video advertising revenue climbed 10.6 percent year-over-year, to $52.1 billion, with 42 percent of that revenue generated from CTV and OTT streaming. Continue reading IAB: U.S. Digital Advertising Hit Record $225 Billion Last Year

Amazon Live FAST Shopping Added to Prime Video, Freevee

Amazon has added interactive shopping from Amazon Live to Prime Video and the Amazon-owned FAST platform Freevee. Previously available only via web browser on computers, mobile and Fire TV, Amazon Live now debuts as a “Live TV” tab on Prime Video and Freevee while continuing to be available at Amazon.com/live. With the TV launch of Amazon Live, customers in the U.S. will “have more ways to shop with creators, brands, and celebrities” and will also be offered “shop the show” technology enabling what the company says will be “seamless” browsing, shopping and engagement with content using their mobile device. Continue reading Amazon Live FAST Shopping Added to Prime Video, Freevee

AMC Plans to Feature New Ad-Supported Streaming Services

AMC Networks revealed it plans to offer ad-supported versions of all of its streaming services for the 2024-2025 upfront market, as it makes a broader play to provide brands a pathway into each of the company’s video platforms. Concurrent to opening the networks to ads, the company will be offering consumers cost effective bundling options around those niche services in lieu of an umbrella AMC+ plan. AMC is rolling out the changes this week at the 2024-25 Upfronts in New York, where it is also emphasizing an increased horror content quotient. Continue reading AMC Plans to Feature New Ad-Supported Streaming Services

Sling TV Offers Free Games to Subscribers via Arcade Feature

Dish Network’s Sling TV subscription streaming platform has added a feature called Sling Arcade that lets users play games while Sling plays television content in an optional adjacent window. Available only to Sling customers who have Amazon Fire TV or Android TV, it has 10 games at launch that the company describes as “both classics and contemporary favorites,” including “Tetris,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Poker Online” and “Solitaire Clash.” Sling is offering Arcade free to those with the Sling Freestream FAST service as well as those with paid subscriptions to Sling TV. Continue reading Sling TV Offers Free Games to Subscribers via Arcade Feature

Ad Firm Vibe Looks to Serve as the ‘Google Ads of Streaming’

Ad tech platform Vibe has raised $22.5 million in a Series A funding round led by venture firm Singular. Vibe plans to use the funds to “continue building a more efficient streaming TV advertising ecosystem and become the No. 1 connected TV ad resource for small and midsize businesses,” or SMBs. Vibe, which calls itself the “Google Ads of streaming,” says its technology “radically democratizes access to streaming TV advertising for SMBs with an easy-to-use ad platform mimicking the power and ease-of-use of Google or Meta, but for CTV and OTT.” Continue reading Ad Firm Vibe Looks to Serve as the ‘Google Ads of Streaming’

Walmart Bolsters Advertising Business with Vizio Acquisition

Walmart is acquiring Vizio in a deal valued at $2.3 billion. The retail giant is following a template established by Amazon by expanding into entertainment media and connected TV advertising. The majority of Vizio’s growth from the last five years has come from ads on its WatchFree+ platform, which offers more than 260 channels, Walmart said touting a deal point. Vizio’s primary business is manufacturing value-priced TV sets. It also makes soundbars. The deal will instantly vault Walmart into a mix of players including Amazon, Roku, Samsung Ads and Google’s YouTube. Continue reading Walmart Bolsters Advertising Business with Vizio Acquisition

Cineverse to Launch cineSearch Powered by Google’s Vertex AI

Global streamer Cineverse has launched an AI-powered search and discovery tool called cineSearch. Developed using the Vertex AI platform from Google Cloud, cineSearch will be released in public beta this spring. A waitlist has already been started, and Cineverse says it will be made more widely available in partnership with OEM and third-party streaming platform partners in the coming months. Simultaneously, the Los Angeles-based firm is rolling out a new ad platform called Cineverse 360, or C360 for short, that will connect brands across omnichannel services reaching 82 million monthly viewers at launch. Continue reading Cineverse to Launch cineSearch Powered by Google’s Vertex AI

Consumers More Attentive to FAST Channels Than Linear TV

As the number of free ad-supported streaming TV channels continues to grow, FAST services are outperforming more traditional linear television and CTV when it comes to capturing and keeping consumer attention, according to two separate studies — one from Samsung, the other from Vizio. Samsung Ads’ report, “Decoding FAST: A Comprehensive Guide to the Free Ad-Supported Streaming Landscape,” reveals that the number of FAST services — among them Fox’s Tubi, The Roku Channel, Paramount’s Pluto TV, Vizio’s WatchFree+ and Samsung TV Plus — has tripled in the past four years, as consumption has grown. Continue reading Consumers More Attentive to FAST Channels Than Linear TV

Nielsen: 21 Million Years Worth of Video Was Streamed in 2023

In 2023, U.S. audiences streamed the equivalent of 21 million years of video, according to Nielsen, which says that’s a record, surpassing by 21 percent the 17 million years’ worth of video streamed in 2022. Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” was the most streamed original, while “Suits” was the most-streamed show in a single year. Its 57.7 billion viewing minutes on Netflix and Peacock surpassed “The Office,” which generated 57.1 billion viewing minutes on Netflix in 2020. According to Nielsen’s Gracenote, “audiences had 90 different streaming services to choose from at the end of last year, up from 51 at the start of 2020.” Continue reading Nielsen: 21 Million Years Worth of Video Was Streamed in 2023

FAST Platform Plex to Roll Out Movie, TV Rentals Next Month

After announcing in 2020 plans to launch a movie and TV show rental marketplace, media streaming platform Plex is finally taking the plunge. Following what has been described as “false starts,” including delays due to COVID-19, news broke at CES 2024 that the company will go public with its rental offering in February. The streaming media software maker has confirmed it will enter the TVOD (transactional video on demand) market to augment the ad-supported streaming that is its primary revenue source. Plex reportedly has “most studios” onboard, though it has yet to specify which ones. Continue reading FAST Platform Plex to Roll Out Movie, TV Rentals Next Month

Pluto Intros Limited-Time ‘NFL Super Bowl Classics’ Channel

Paramount Global’s Pluto TV free streaming television service is adding a pop-up channel for NFL fans for the weeks leading up to Super Bowl LVIII on CBS. The new programming joins an NFL channel that Pluto TV launched in 2019 to showcase game coverage with news, replays and original shows. Airing 24/7 through February 21, the “NFL Super Bowl Classics” channel will feature past Super Bowl games and specials. Viewers can find the channel on the Pluto TV app or connected TV devices in the Sports category. Game replays will stream sequentially with specials and docuseries interspersed. Continue reading Pluto Intros Limited-Time ‘NFL Super Bowl Classics’ Channel

Comcast Makes Its Xumo Boxes Available for One-Time Fee

Comcast is now making Xumo Stream Boxes available to its Xfinity broadband customers. New customers can get one Xumo Box for a $15 activation fee and no monthly charge. Additional units will be billed at $5 per month, the company says. The Xumo Stream Box comes preloaded with hundreds of streaming apps. In addition to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service, popular favorites like Disney+, Hulu, Max, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are on the menu. Free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels are also packaged in, with 20 options from Xfinity Stream and more than 300 from Xumo Play. Continue reading Comcast Makes Its Xumo Boxes Available for One-Time Fee

Comcast’s FreeWheel Teams with OrkaTV to Target FAST Ads

Streaming platform OrkaTV has teamed with Comcast’s FreeWheel adtech firm on a product designed to help marketers reach target audiences for their advertising in the FAST sector. The partnership allows marketers using FreeWheel to access OrkaTV’s more than 3,500 free ad-supported streaming TV channels. The end result is expected to be “access to a more diverse pool of FAST ad inventory” that in turn helps drive up demand for inventory, according to the firms, which say the “more accurate contextual advertising targeting abilities” also raise the ante. Continue reading Comcast’s FreeWheel Teams with OrkaTV to Target FAST Ads

Samsung TV Plus Hits Refresh on a 60 Percent Viewer Surge

Samsung TV Plus reports it has seen enthusiastic consumer use over the past year, with a 60 percent rise in global viewership. Accordingly, the TV maker is upgrading its free streaming service — available on Galaxy devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Smart Monitors and Family Hub appliances and on the Web — with an emphasis on discoverability for kids and music programming. Launched in 2015, the free ad-supported TV (FAST) and ad-based video on-demand (AVOD) service offers content spanning news, sports, entertainment, music, and more, in 24 countries where it is accessed on 535 million TV and mobile devices. Continue reading Samsung TV Plus Hits Refresh on a 60 Percent Viewer Surge

Crunchyroll and GSN Launch a FAST Channel for Anime Fans

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Crunchyroll and Game Show Network (GSN) have teamed to launch the Crunchyroll 24-hour anime streaming service. The new FAST channel will be available in the U.S. on Amazon Freevee, LG Channels, the Roku Channel and Vizio’s WatchFree+. Crunchyroll has been delivering East Asian content to U.S. audiences since 2006. In 2016 it partnered with Funimation, which also specialized in Japanese content. Sony acquired Funimation in 2017 and Crunchyroll in 2021, merging the two last year. Continue reading Crunchyroll and GSN Launch a FAST Channel for Anime Fans