Nielsen’s Gracenote launches ‘FAST Program’ to streamline free streaming content distribution

Gracenote, the Nielsen-owned data and entertainment technology provider that is best known for its vast metadata library, is launching a new program that aims to help video publishers launch and distribute their free, ad-supported streaming television channels.

The Gracenote FAST Program will allow publishers to tap into Gracenote's editorial and contextual data products and technology when they submit their FAST channel portfolio to the company. Gracenote will assign its proprietary unique identifiers, known as Gracenote IDs, to content distributed through those channels, and partners will receive a "Gracenote Certified" designation that reflects their use of Gracenote's standardized ID and metadata system, which some FAST platforms require.

"The rapid rise of FAST has been one of the most notable recent developments in the global video ecosystem," Vikram Kulkami, the vice president of strategic initiatives at Gracenote's Europe, Middle East and Africa business, said in a statement on Tuesday. "Based on our position at the heart of this ecosystem, we are uniquely positioned to help content publishers from small to large benefit from the maturation of FAST, and we look forward to helping them achieve better FAST content visibility, consumption and monetization through our program."

When asked which FAST platforms and partners use the company’s current metadata products for their streaming services, a Nielsen official declined to comment, citing confidentiality clauses in its customer agreements. Some FAST services, including Plex and Fox Corporation's Tubi, have publicly affirmed their relationships with Gracenote and Nielsen in the past, and a Gracenote salesperson affirmed in a recent LinkedIn post that the company was part of British broadcaster Channel 4's recent launch of two new streaming channels that debuted on both FAST platforms last week.

Officials at Gracenote say consumers are gravitating toward FAST channels and platforms as they become more sensitive to prices across subscription-based video services. Over the past 12 months, Nielsen's The Gauge report has included three FAST services by name — Paramount-owned Pluto TV, Tubi and The Roku Channel — reflecting their popularity among streaming consumers who seek to replicate the linear experience of cable and satellite, but without the high costs associated with pay television. (The Gauge requires a streaming service to have at least 1% of overall TV usage in a given month to be cited by name.)

Likewise, marketing dollars are flowing to FAST platforms and channels both here and abroad: A Statista survey cited by Gracenote this week claims revenue generated by FAST channels will reach $18 billion by 2028, with the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea and several other countries leading the charge. The figure was largely in line with a separate projection made by research firm Omdia, which showed global FAST revenue could top $12 billion around the world by 2027.