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Will Telly’s second-screen experience take off?

Written by Brook Schaaf

Many years ago, my high school received free televisions from a company called Whittle Communications, which aired a daily program called Channel One News — and with Channel One News came, of course, advertising. At its peak, Channel One News had an audience of approximately 8 million American teenagers, according to Wikipedia.

This came to mind when I saw that a company called Telly is offering free advanced big-screen televisions valued at about a thousand dollars each. The catch is that you have to watch their ads on a second, smaller screen — which are highly targeted because you’ve also shared your data.

Part of the pitch, apparently, is consumers cashing in on the value of their data, because right now other manufacturers are basically doing that. An executive named Dallas Lawrence said, “[manufacturers are] going right around and selling you ads on that television and selling your data on that television. They’re licensing it out. So there must be a robust enough business model to deliver a great TV.”

Lawrence also points out that 80% of adults are already looking at a second screen while watching television, so if their attention is diverted and they are looking to interact with something, the second screen might be a better option.

Linear TV is down but Connected TV (CTV) is up, and ads aren’t limited to CPM. If individual products are available for sale, then live shopping, or a version thereof, might finally catch on in the U.S., with potential affiliate plays.

Channel One News launched nationally in 1990, sold four or five times, and finally closed in 2018 after nearly 30 years on the air. If this is any indication, Telly might do very well.

To get a free TV from Telly, sign up on their website here. (I wish this were an affiliate link.)

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