Free Streaming Services Will See Ad Revenue Surpass $17 Billion by 2029, Study Says




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Free ad-supported streaming platforms are picking up speed with households around the world. Ad revenue generated from these services is growing exponentially, according to a report by Digital TV Research, which suggests there are no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Digital TV Research predicts global revenue related to free ad-based streams of films and shows will surpass $17 billion in 2029, a significant increase from the $8 billion the platforms expect to generate this year. Of that estimate, the research group said the U.S. will contribute 38% towards the 2029 total, dropping from 56% this year, suggesting wider growth overseas. 

The numbers underscore the continued evolution of the streaming world, which went from exclusive, Netflix-type subscription services and is now shifting towards free access driven by ads. These options are increasingly attractive as subscription services like Disney+ and Max continue to raise their prices, driving budget-conscious audiences to more affordable options. 

The report expects the U.S. to be the only country raking in more than $1 billion in revenue from free streaming services, also known as FAST platforms, with the U.K. and Canada hovering just under that milestone. These three countries will comprise close to half of the global total.

The U.S. is expected to generate $2.1 billion in additional revenue, totaling $6.5 billion.

“Pluto TV, Roku Channel, and Samsung TV Plus will account for nearly half the global FAST revenues by 2029,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research. “The rest of the FAST market will remain fragmented, with far less globalization than in the SVOD (subscription video on demand) sector.”

Pluto TV is expected to generate $3.1 billion in revenue, the Roku Channel $3.4 billion, and Samsung TV Plus $1.6 billion, according to Digital TV Research.

As cord cutting becomes more prominent, people are searching for additional ways to save money while keeping access to their favorite content. Cord Cutters News’ internal poll shows that households are scaling back on the number of streaming services they subscribe to, even among cut cutters. Consumers want to pay less for entertainment overall and cut back on the number of services they use, free or otherwise.

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