Google TV introduces FAST advertising options

Google TV has introduced new options for advertisers, allowing them to add CTV inventory to media buys from its embedded free live TV experience that launched last year.

Announced in a blog, a spokesperson confirmed the launch of what it’s calling the Google TV network means brands can add Google TV, including its free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) experience, to their in-stream media buy through a simple opt-in. Previously, Google TV wasn’t available as a separate add-on.  

A little over a year ago Google TV launched an embedded free streaming experience, which now counts 125 native channels alongside free content served from within other FAST apps like Tubi and Plex. Comcast’s Xumo Enterprise helped power tech and content for Google TV's built-in channels, similar to its support for TCL’s revamped FAST service.

The newly launched Google TV network enables advertisers to connect with 20 million monthly active devices running Google TV and other Android TV OS devices in the U.S. with targeted in-stream video ads. It provides access to the 125 built-in channels on the CTV platform, including live sports, full-length TV shows and movies, as well as different ad formats like non-skippable and 6-second bumper ads. Google TV OS also powers smart TVs and streaming devices from brands such as Sony, Hisense, TCL and Chromecast.

Google said marketers will be able to target the right audiences and extend reach with tailored campaigns while streamlining the CTV ad buying process. More ad formats are teed up for the future, according to the company, but didn’t share specifics at this point. Google did tell StreamTV Insider the company is actively researching new formats that utilize “the unique environment and capabilities like deep linking that GTV offers.” Currently, both in-stream and home screen/masthead CTV placements are available via the Google TV network, the spokesperson confirmed.

The Google TV network is available directly through Google Ads and Google Display & Video 360, which allows advertisers to plan, buy and measure Google CTV campaigns alongside digital video campaigns – and where the company’s pushing a combo of its FAST experience and YouTube for CTV.

“When you set up your video campaign, just select the Google TV network alongside YouTube to maximize your reach on the biggest screen on the home,” wrote Google in a blog about the new offering.

According to the company, viewers of Google TV’s free channels spend over 75 minutes per day watching on average.  YouTube CEO Neil Mohan previously pegged the living room via CTV as the unit’s next frontier, where it is looking to build out a one-stop-shop and counts virtual MVPD YouTube TV as well as the CTV app for YouTube – the latter which has consistently ranked as the top streaming app in terms of monthly share of U.S. TV time per Nielsen’s The Gauge.

That said, as analysts including TVREV’s Alan Wolk have pointed out, despite significant consumption, the question crops up as to whether YouTube, with its wide array of videos and user-generated content, actually counts or can be comparable to “TV” in advertisers’ eyes.

Still, Google has been working to make its CTV offerings more advertiser and viewer friendly, including utilizing AI to inform ad break length and frequency.

Article updated to reflect that Xumo Enterprise now supports Google TV's 125 built-in free streaming channels. A previous version stated an earlier figure of Xumo supporting nearly 80 channels.