Telly, a hardware company that aims to transform the television industry with its free ad-supported smart TVs, has shipped its first wave of 55-inch 4K dual-screen TVs to customers in the United States.
The company refers to this initial shipment as a “public beta program” and has invited a diverse group of households, with a particular focus on Gen Z and millennial consumers. Over 250,000 people have signed up for free TVs, which feature a second screen below the main display that continuously displays rotating ads.
To receive the free TV, customers must provide detailed demographic information such as age, gender, address, and ethnicity, as well as their viewing habits and purchasing behaviours. By agreeing to the company’s terms of service, users allow Telly to use their data for targeted ad-serving purposes. The TVs have a sensor that detects the number of people in front of the screen at any time.
However, there are conditions users must adhere to. Telly’s terms of service state that the TV must be used as the primary television in the household and remain connected to the internet at all times. Users are prohibited from using ad-blocking software, physically modifying the TV, or attaching peripheral devices without Telly’s approval. Failure to comply with these conditions could result in Telly demanding the return of the TV or charging the associated credit card up to $1,000.
Telly’s disruptive ad-supported business model aims to provide a positive consumer experience while allowing advertisers to reach a younger demographic. The company has entered a data-licensing agreement with Nielsen to collect and interpret viewership and ad effectiveness insights for advertisers and TV programmers. Additionally, Telly is partnering with Microsoft, Magnite, and MNTN to power the ads displayed on the second screen.
The second screen, located below the main display, not only shows advertisements 24/7 but also serves as the control centre, allowing users to change channels, adjust brightness, and control volume. Although users cannot turn off the second screen, they can adjust its brightness to reduce distraction in darker environments.
While Tellly’s model requires customers to sacrifice some privacy by sharing personal data, the company asserts that each TV is worth $1,000, making the exchange worthwhile for those willing to provide their information for a free TV. With the initial wave of shipments now underway, only time will tell how this ad-supported business model fares out in the future.