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Week In Review: Vizio Breaks $100M Mark In Upfront Commitments, Sports On Tubi Breaks New Ground For FASTs.

1.  Vizio Breaks $100M Mark In Upfront Commitments

Smart TV manufacturer Vizio announced that they’d received over $100 million in upfront commitments thus far for their WatchFree FAST service. That’s further proof that CTV in general and smart TV FASTs in particular are booming. (It’s also why TV]R]EV is releasing a major Special Report about the Smart TV ecosystem on September 8th. Details to follow.)

Why It Matters

That $100 million number is particularly impressive when you factor in that Vizio Ads is less than two years old. Given how difficult it is to convince ad buyers to shift long term habits, the shift of hundreds of millions of dollars to the smart TV OEMs ( LG and Samsung are presumably seeing similar levels of interest) is extremely notable.

Even more notable: that $100 million number is likely on the low side. 

As a result of the streaming wars, the various Flixes are spending tens of millions of dollars (if not more) advertising their apps and their shows. The FASTs are no doubt seeing a huge chunk of this, because if your goal is to convince someone to watch a particular TV show, then hitting them up while they’re, you know, actually watching TV is a boss move. It’s the closest thing TV programmers get to a point-of-purchase ad.

Back to the smart TV OEMs though. 

If you’re an advertiser, they offer several unique advantages. The first is that they provide you with their own ACR data, so you know exactly how your ad is doing. Second, they can track frequency across both streaming and linear, which allows them to institute frequency capping so you’re not hitting the same people up several dozen times a day.

They also offer the broader advantages of CTV—the ability to target specific audiences and the ability to reach the people you wanted to reach on linear, but missed, aka “incremental reach.”

As streaming TV continues to grow in all its many guises, operating systems will assume greater importance and the smart TV OEMs have all made massive strides in bringing theirs up to speed. Meaning the most recent iterations are as intuitive and easy to use as a Fire TV.  That means viewers, especially those with newer sets, are more likely to abandon their dongles and watch directly from the smart TV’s own OS. This then increases the number of people watching the smart TV OEMs own FASTs, which increases the number of ad dollars spent, which… well, you get the picture.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re a Flix or a traditional TV network and you’re not advertising on the various FASTs, time to get your act together. As noted above, it’s the closest thing to a point of purchase ad and one of the few ways you have of reaching viewers who likely don’t spend much (if any) time on linear TV.

If you are Vizio or one of the other smart TV OEMs, well done. The combination of programming, targeted advertising and data is exactly what advertisers are looking for today, and consumers appreciate the ease and the lighter ad loads, so keep on keeping on.

If you’re in the industry and you want to know more about the emerging smart TV ecosystem, check out our upcoming Special Report which will be available for download on September 8th.

2. Sports On Tubi Breaks New Ground For FASTs.

Tubi, the FAST owned by Fox, represents that company’s hopes and dreams in the streaming space. They just announced that they will soon be launching a second app called Sports on Tubi.

The app, unsurprisingly, will feature sports content from a wide range of Fox partners, including the NFL, some NCAA conferences, some soccer broadcasts and the MLB.

While the programming will be “live” in the sense that it is on a linear schedule, there will be few games that will actually be broadcast live. Most of the programming instead, will be highlights, commentary and on demand replays of previously played matches.

Why It Matters

Tubi, if you recall, is the one FAST that does not have hundreds of linear channels. Boom! Now they do.

The other notable piece, of course, is that Fox is taking advantage of all of the various deals that Fox Sports has in place–the app is a JV of sorts between Tubi and Fox Sports.

There will be a lot on there to allow more casual fans to stay on top of what is going on with the NFL and MLB, including game recaps. RSN-style “fans of a specific team” can use the app to learn about what else is going on in their leagues of choice and beyond. 

There’s also a lot of soccer, a sport which always seems to be on the verge of actually becoming a thing in the U.S. Odd as it may sound, Apple’s popular Ted Lasso show may help on this front, because woven in with the generally heartwarming plotlines and earwig player theme songs is a very basic explanation of soccer for Americans who know nothing about the game.

So there’s that.

The app, which is the first sports-specific FAST from a major player—already has sponsors–Uber Eats and Applebee’s, proving that there is also advertiser interest in reaching streaming sports fans.

What You Need To Do About It

If you are Xumo or Pluto, take a look at what Tubi is doing and see if you can assemble your own parent company’s sports properties into some sort of sports app or sports section of the existing app, as a way to grab both more loyalty and a bigger chunk of the streaming audience, younger sports fans in particular.

If you’re Tubi, don’t worry if they do this—a rising tide lifts all boats.

If you’re a sports fan, remember that this is free and free is good.

If you’re an advertiser, this is a great opportunity to get your ads in front of sports fans you probably don’t reach on linear. All in an uncluttered ad environment. Don’t let Uber and Applebee’s have all the fun.