Google TV, the company’s rebuilt streaming platform running on Chromecast devices and some third-party smart TVs, could soon feature free, ad-supported streaming television.
According to Protocol, the company has held discussions with programming partners about building a lineup of linear streaming channels, similar to other device maker services like Samsung TV Plus, LG Channels, the Roku Channel and other offerings from Amazon and Vizio. The report suggests the service could arrive as soon as this fall though it may end up waiting until early 2022.
Google will reportedly package the channels with a live guide on Chromecast devices and on smart TVs, it will serve the channels alongside integrated over-the-air broadcast signals.
Google of course already operates YouTube, the largest ad-supported streaming video service in the world, and has increasingly seen that service become a larger part of consumers’ TV screen viewing behaviors. But a FAST would give Google another means of capitalizing on the growing connected TV advertising market.
According to new research from nScreenMedia, the virtuous cycle of expanding audiences attracting more and better content, attracting more advertisers, driving up ad values, and, in turn, attracting more viewers with better content, will nearly double revenue in the next two years. The research firm estimates that ad revenue earned by virtual linear channels will grow from $2.1 billion in 2021 to $4.1 billion in 2023.
“There was a time when many forecast the death of linear TV viewing,” said nScreenMedia analyst Colin Dixon. “However, it is now clear that the format continues to deliver value to viewers. The FAST market has just begun a long period of rapid expansion.”
As Protocol points out, Google has tried linear streaming channels before. In 2014, the company added a feature to Android TV devices that provided a guide and aggregated live content.