Warner Bros. Discovery brings 37 FAST Channels to Amazon’s Freevee

Warner Bros. Discovery is licensing 37 new free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels to Amazon’s Freevee.

Sixteen of the new channels launch today, December 5, with some of the lead-in titles including CNN Headlines, Bachelor Nation, The FBI, Say Yes to the Dress, Warner Bros. TV - Generation Drama and more. There are a total of nine WBD-branded FAST channels joining the platform this month. The remaining 21 channels, which include a mix of Discovery and WBD studio content, are set to drop on the platform in early 2024.

The set of channels builds from an earlier deal announced over the summer that launched 11 WBD channels on the service (as well as other licensed channels from MGM), aiding in Amazon’s goal of growing Freevee’s FAST channel slate by 75% in 2023.

Amazon’s AVOD service was first launched in 2019 under the name IMDb Freedive. Later that year, it was rebranded to IMDb TV only to then receive another makeover last year, bringing it to its current title — Freevee.

In its most recent rebranding, Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke said in a statement that the company had observed “tremendous” growth in the FAST service over the last two years, and they would continue to build on that momentum. And, indeed, Freevee has been busy at work expanding the service’s content library through both original and licensed content. The service now offers over 400 FAST channels.

WBD has also looked to press its licensing agenda, even offering up HBO shows such as “Westworld” to FAST services The Roku Channel and Tubi earlier this year. Thanks to the subsequent licensing revenue increases, that move lessened the company’s losses in Q2.But the same can’t be said for its recent quarter, where revenue from content decreased by 17% driven by lower third-party licensing.

The company had a recent stock drop as its direct-to-consumer streaming services in Q3 saw a 700,000 subscriber loss and WBD CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels noted uncertainty around the ad market. “The timing of an ad recovery is currently difficult for any of us to predict with any conviction,” he said on the earnings call.

Despite the dual Hollywood actors and writers strikes coming to an end, the continued impacts on WBD are likely to bleed into the next year, according to Wiedenfels. “This is an evolving process, and there is a real risk at this point that some negative financial impact of the strike will extend into 2024 to some extent,” he said. “There is simply a lot we don't know yet.”

Still, he said the company will continue to assess its licensing tactics based on its expansive library. “There's a lot of content that's not being consumed heavily on Max, and so those are the easy ones. Everything that we license is always not exclusive. We keep the full rights to all that content. [W]e have it on Max, and in some cases, we also have it on AVOD. So we really get the Monday Morning Quarterback and take a look.”