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FAST Channels and CTV Channels - not the same, but the same?

CTV (Connected TV) has established itself as an emerging medium in recent years and is becoming increasingly important. In a world where traditional TV habits are being replaced by digital and mobile platforms, CTV has ushered in a new era of TV. Still a relatively young medium, it offers a host of benefits for both consumers and advertisers.

For advertisers, CTV opens up a host of new opportunities to reach their target audiences. Compared to traditional television, CTV offers more precise targeting and measurability. By using data on user behavior and interests, advertisers can target ads to relevant audiences and measure the success of their campaigns. In addition, CTV also enables personalization of advertising messages to build stronger engagement between brands and viewers.

CTV thus refers to televisions connected to streaming services via an Internet connection, rather than receiving via traditional cable or satellite connections. This enables access to a wide range of content through apps and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Samsung TV Plus, waipu.tv and many others. Through CTV, viewers can watch their favorite shows and movies on demand and have the freedom to create their own programming schedules.

One reason for CTV's growing popularity is the proliferation of smart TVs and streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast. These devices provide a seamless connection to the Internet and allow viewers to enjoy their favorite streaming content directly on the big screen via what are called CTV Channels.


CTV Channels are digital channels or broadcasters that make live or on-demand content - via apps or OTT (over-the-top) services - available to stream on CTV devices.

OTT services are video services that deliver content over the Internet and are not distributed through traditional broadcast or cable television providers. These services allow viewers to watch video content on demand, either through ad-supported models such as AVOD, subscription models such as SVOD, transactional models such as TVOD, or on-demand services from traditional broadcasters such as BVOD.

BVOD (Broadcaster Video on Demand) is a term that refers to on-demand video services from traditional broadcasters. These platforms often offer a selection of content that has aired on linear television and allow users to watch it on demand.

SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) refers to a subscription model where users can access a library of video content for a monthly or annual fee. SVOD services typically do not have commercial interruptions because users pay for access.

TVOD (Transactional Video on Demand) refers to a model in which users pay for each individual video viewing or for time-limited access to specific content. In the TVOD model, video content is generally offered individually for purchase or rental. Users can select individual movies, series episodes or other content and pay a separate fee for it.

AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand) is a model in which video content is provided free of charge but financed with advertising. Users can watch the content without paying, but must accept advertising interruptions.

Various types of channels can be classified under the umbrella term AVOD:

Media libraries: Media libraries are platforms or services that offer a selection of video content that viewers can use on demand. This content can come from a variety of sources, such as TV shows, movies, documentaries, etc. Media libraries can also be ad-supported, displaying ads before (pre-roll spots) or during (mid-roll spots) video viewing.

Playlist Channels: playlist channels are channels in CTV that offer (personalized and) curated playlists of videos in the form of 24/7 streams. Viewers have the ability to watch content on demand without having to rely on a fixed schedule or time limit. They can access content whenever they want, and often have the flexibility to pause, rewind, or fast-forward the stream to consume content based on their preferences. These channels are typically ad-supported, meaning that ads are inserted shortly after the content starts (delayed pre-roll spots) and/or during (mid-roll spots) playback to monetize the channels and content.

FAST CHANNELS: FAST Channels (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV Services) are free, ad-supported streaming channels available through CTV platforms. They offer a wide range of linear programmed content from various genres and categories, including movies, series, news, sports and more, from a variety of different content providers. These channels are ad-supported and display ads during (Ad Breaks / Ad Pods) the playback of the content at set times to monetize the channels and the content. The ad-supported nature of FAST Channels allows platforms and providers to offer free access to specialized content while generating revenue through ad placement. In this way, viewers can enjoy content in their specific areas of interest without having to pay for it directly, but also without having the ability to control the order or timing of the content.

Ad block integration in the FAST channel depends on the respective platforms and providers and is based on various criteria, such as length of content, number of ad pods, length of ad pod. After a defined period of streaming, an ad block is set for the viewer and the ad is played out. The ad block is much shorter than in classic linear TV, usually only 1-2 minutes. In addition, ad blocks in FAST Channels can be optimized and adjusted in real time, based on real-time data and A/B testing. This allows advertisers to optimize their campaigns on an ongoing basis. In linear TV, adjustments during broadcast are more difficult and usually require longer lead times.

Examples to differentiate between classic streamed TV channels and FAST channels:

For example, a classically streamed TV channel would be a traditional TV channel that streams its content over the Internet. This could be a channel like euronews or RTL2 that broadcasts its linear programming online. These channels have a fixed schedule and broadcast their content at specific times, similar to traditional television. Viewers can follow the live stream and watch the content in real time.

An example of FAST channel would be an ad-supported streaming service like Pluto TV or Samsung TV Plus. These platforms offer a variety of channels that continuously stream content in a linear form. These channels include a wide range of genres, such as entertainment, sports, lifestyle and more. Viewers can select a channel and follow the content in real time, much like a traditional television channel. The difference is that FAST channels are streamed only over the Internet and offer free access, with content supported by advertising.


Advantages for the advertiser:

  • Targeting: CTV allows advertisers to precisely target their audiences. By using data such as demographic information, interests, and usage patterns, advertisers can target their ads to specific audiences. This enables more effective advertising and a higher probability that the message will reach the right viewers.
  • Wide reach: CTV has already built up a relevant media reach in Germany as more and more people use streaming services and Internet-enabled TV sets. Advertisers can benefit from this growing audience base and present their ads to a broad audience.
  • Interactivity: CTV offers interactive features with CTV Ads that allow viewers to respond directly to the ad and access further content from the advertiser without media disruption.
  • Engaged viewers: In addition, CTV viewers are often more engaged and attentive than on traditional linear TV, as they actively select content and consume it more consciously.
  • Measurability and effectiveness: advertisers can accurately measure the performance of their advertising message on CTV. They get detailed information on reach, viewability, VTR/VCR, ad engagement and conversion tracking. This measurability allows them to analyze the effectiveness of their ad campaigns and make adjustments as needed to achieve better results.
  • Low ad blocking: compared to traditional TV, ad blocks on CTV often have a lower number of spots. This can result in ads being seen more effectively.
  • 100% Brand Safety: advertisers can usually exclude certain content or categories where they do not want their ads to appear. This allows them to protect their brand from unwanted content and ensure that their ads are placed in a safe environment.
  • 100% Viewability: CTV spots are displayed full screen on the TV screen. Compared to other digital advertising formats, CTV thus offers better viewability.

Viewer benefits:

  • Personalized content: CTV platforms allow viewers to select their preferred content from a variety of streaming services. They can receive personalized recommendations based on their interests, viewing habits and preferences. This allows them to discover content that is specifically tailored to their individual needs.
  • Flexible viewing experience: CTV offers viewers flexibility in content consumption. They can stream their favorite shows and movies anytime, anywhere on their Internet-connected TVs. This allows them to tailor their viewing experience to their own schedules and preferences.
  • Fewer commercial interruptions: Compared to traditional linear TV, CTV platforms often have fewer commercial breaks. This means viewers can enjoy their content without constant commercial interruptions. When ads are shown, they are often more relevant and tailored to their interests.
  • Interactive features: CTV offers interactive features that enhance the viewing experience for viewers. For example, they can receive additional information about products or services through banner ads or overlays. They can also be invited to participate in surveys or interact directly with advertisements to get more information.
  • High picture and sound quality: CTV streaming often offers high picture and sound quality. With advanced technologies like 4K resolution and Dolby Atmos, viewers can enjoy movies, series, and other content with impressive quality that is often superior to traditional television.


In summary, CTV (Connected TV) describes the technology that allows video content to be streamed to TV sets over the Internet. CTV Channels are the channels or stations that are available on CTV platforms and can be streamed. AVOD stands for ad-supported video content, SVOD for subscription-based services, TVOD for fee-based single-demand models, BVOD for on-demand services from traditional broadcasters, Playlist Channels for individually curated playlists, and FAST Channels for linear-programmed, free, ad-supported streaming channels.

Although CTV is growing at a rapid pace, it is still in the early stages of its development in Germany. New technologies such as 5G and a rapidly growing number of platforms as well as broadcasters will continue to drive the spread of CTV and expand the range of high-quality content and interactive features. At the same time, advertising formats and strategies will also evolve to realize the full potential of CTV.

Although CTV is still comparatively new as a medium, it is already having a significant impact on the TV industry. Through its potential to offer personalized content and targeted advertising, it has permanently transformed TV and the consumption of advertising messages. There is no doubt that CTV will continue to gain importance in the coming years and have a significant impact on the media landscape.


Contact Person:

Mario Neumann, Director Business Development, [email protected]