At one time, not long ago, television viewing was dominated by a few large broadcast networks, a facet of the industry that largely remained even as cable networks greatly fragmented audiences. In recent years, viewers have gravitated toward advertising-free subscription streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO. This shift has left advertisers without a key channel to reach potential consumers. While short form video sites like YouTube and Tik Tok have captured the lion share of online video advertising dollars, incumbent media networks have not remained idle. As a result, dozens of free ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) streaming services like Hulu, Peacock, and Pluto have been launched to fill the void for traditional television advertisements. eMarketer forecasts that US ad-supported streaming will expand 30% year on year in 2021 to 127.7 million viewers and will reach 164 million by 2025. However, as paid streaming services continue to reinvest revenues into new content as diverse as The Squid Game and Ted Lasso, free services will need to ensure viewers remain engaged long enough to watch the ads.
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