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Amazon launches Fire TV-exclusive free, ad-supported streaming channels.

Photo: Amazon

With the launch of Fire TV Channels this week, Amazon is doubling down on free, ad-supported entertainment. Fire TV Channels will be updated throughout the day and integrated into Home Screen rows, the “Free” tab, and genre-specific pages on Fire TV.

Fire TV is also adding NHL, Xbox, and TMZ FAST channels and a Travel category including Tastemade Travel, “Rick Steves’ Europe,” “Travel Hacks,” and eventually Condé Nast Traveler. Additionally, fire TV Channels will include PGA programming later.

The firm said that customer behavior and rising demand for free streaming content influenced this Fire TV upgrade.

“We’ve offered some of this [FAST] content for a while for customers—we’ve helped them discover it throughout the [user interface] by having rows of content, for example, throughout ‘Home’ or other pages,” says Charlotte Maines, Director of Advertising, Monetization, Marketing, and Engagement for Fire TV. When we present it topically, they engage with it. This content has been streamed 300% more in the previous six months. So we know it works for our customers,” she added.

The executive attributed the development to numerous causes. For one, users are saturated with streaming video-on-demand and don’t want to add more subscriptions to their monthly expenses or keep up with new services.

In addition, FAST channels don’t require users to join up or establish an account to watch.

Maines emphasizes that the Fire TV interface will now include all FAST content, including news, sports, cuisine and cooking, music videos, trailers, gaming videos, comedy, and more.

The news category contains national news and over 330 local news channels, with new FAST channels from NBC and Telemundo later this week. In addition, Amazon promises more categories “coming soon” on Fire TV’s “Free” menu.

Amazon’s NewFronts presentation also includes changes to Freevee, which delivers FAST channels. Freevee, unlike Fire TV Channels, is available on mobile devices and other non-Amazon media players and TVs.

Amazon’s DSP lets marketers target Fire TV’s Prime customers and younger families directly. In addition, Amazon can sell Fire TV’s FAST channel ads using its larger advertising team.

Amazon has sold over 200 million Fire TV devices worldwide, and its ad-supported streaming solutions now reach 155 million unduplicated monthly viewers, or 6 out of 10 U.S. adults.

An automobile client’s native advertisements on Fire TV and Fire tablets increased brand awareness by 11% and purchase intent by 14%. Amazon stated 72% of its streaming TV consumers don’t watch linear TV, citing Nielsen statistics.

FAST channels aren’t exclusive to Amazon anymore. As of March, competitor Roku has over 350 FAST channels. Google TV announced 800 FAST channels, and YouTube has been testing them. Plex, Warner Bros. Discovery, Tubi, and Sling TV are joining Pluto TV in this area.

Amazon announced this week’s Fire TV update. The Fire TV Home Screen and “Free” tab will include the new content tiles. In addition, fire TV Channels, an always-on location, will unite all FAST categories this summer.

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