Telly living room

Telly, the smart TV start-up with a novel product (two screens instead of one) and an even more novel business plan (giving sets away for free in order to focus on ad revenue), has passed several new milestones.

The company said in a press release it has begun shipping its 55-inch dual-screen sets this week to customers participating in a public beta program. Telly plans to ship 500,000 free televisions by the end of 2023 with millions more in 2024.

Dallas Lawrence, Telly’s chief strategy officer and a former Roku exec who worked on Capitol Hill prior to moving into tech, said the company expects a big bump in demand during the holiday fourth quarter. About half of the initial run of sets has been spoken for, but a wave of promotions now that products are shipping is expected to help drive awareness online and at retail locations.

In addition to the shipments, the company has formed a number of notable partnerships. Nielsen will license Telly’s data in an effort to gain insights into viewership patterns and advertising effectiveness.

On the ad front, Magnite and Microsoft Advertising will join initial launch partner MNTN as preferred advertising partners. With voice assistants, motion tracking fitness, video games and sound bars all comprising key components of the Telly experience, the company said it has selected Harman-Kardon to provide audio technology for its free, six-driver integrated sound bar. Deals will also allow customers to integrate their Spotify and LiveOne accounts into the Telly platform.

Pluto TV founder Ilya Pozin, who founded Telly and runs it as CEO, said initial response from consumers and advertisers to the dual-screen offering has been “incredible” since the company emerged from stealth last May. A key part of the product offering, he said, is technology that lets the sets “get better with every update” based on user feedback.

“Telly represents the latest innovation in TV advertising,” Magnite CEO Michael Barrett said. “Together, we are unlocking new inventory and data, in addition to powerful new performance-driven advertising creative for brands looking to reach engaged consumers on the biggest screen in the home. We look forward to embarking on this exciting journey with Telly, leveraging our expertise and technology to help fuel their progress.”

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