Amazon has launched Fire TV Channels, a new hub for free, ad-supported TV (FAST).
The tech giant made the announcement during its NewFronts presentation for advertisers at Lincoln Center in New York. Since food programming will be a staple of the new destination, the company has enlisted Martha Stewart to help promote it (see video above). Stewart has become a regular on NewFronts, doing a business this past spring with Roku and appearing at the event.
Fire TV Channels is a dedicated home for programming that was already attracting an audience on Fire TV. Amazon, which has about 200 million Fire TV devices globally, said it green-lit the new FAST home because monthly viewing hours for this emerging form of programming have risen 300% over the past six months.
This summer, after launching FAST’s newly centralized channels, Fire TV plans to roll out a new “always-on” app-like destination, promising a smoother experience for consumers.
With millions of pay-TV customers continuing to cut the cord each year, FAST continues to gain momentum, but it remains a somewhat fragmented sector due to the detailed nature of streaming. Amazon’s new Channel Center adds the travel category to a mix of free fare that includes local and national news, sporting highlights, music videos, lifestyle, entertainment and other areas, with 400 publishing and programming partners already in the fold. New content from the NHL, Xbox and TMZ is featured on Fire TV at launch, and titles from new providers including Condé Nast and PGA will be added soon.
“With Fire TV Channels, we offer a simple category-based experience that makes it easy to discover what you want to watch while constantly expanding our content offerings,” said Charlotte Maines, Fire TV director of advertising, monetization and engagement.
NewFronts’ ad buyer offering is Amazon’s second. It promotes targeted advertising holdings such as the gamer-focused platform Twitch, free-to-air streaming service FreeVee and sports programming on Prime Video. Last week, Amazon reported a 21% year-over-year rise in total ad revenue, to $9.5 billion.