Free TVs, Personal Data & Targeting Possibilities
In today’s rapidly evolving advertising industry, new methods are emerging to adapt to consumer behavior and take advantage of technological advancements. One such innovation is Telly, a startup that has quickly gained prominence by offering a free smart TV to the first 500,000 users who sign up. Founded by Ilya Pozin, the creator of Pluto TV, and backed by performance TV platform MNTN, Telly has strategically leveraged free hardware to collect valuable personal data from its users.
Telly’s business model revolves around monetizing the TV giveaways through targeted ad sales based on the wealth of user data collected. This approach highlights the evolving relationship between individuals, technology, and the increasingly valuable asset of personal data. The overwhelming response of over 100,000 signups within 36 hours demonstrates that consumers are willing to make this trade-off.
According to Dallas Laurence, Telly’s Chief Strategy Officer, the continuous stream of information provided by the 500,000 Telly homes will dwarf the data collected by Nielsen’s panel and TVision, making it an attractive source for measurement companies. Additionally, Lawrence claims that Telly’s average revenue per user (ARPU) will surpass that of Roku by more than twofold.
Telly’s integration of always-on advertising (on a second screen beneath the main display), ensures a constant presence of ads, creating opportunities for advertisers to engage in ongoing dialogues with viewers. Combined with Telly’s extensive collection of personal data, this grants advertisers detailed insights into viewers’ preferences, habits, and behavior. As a result, advertisers can deliver tailored messaging and offers that resonate with specific demographics or audiences.
From an advertiser’s perspective, this level of precision targeting enhances the effectiveness of advertising efforts. The relevance of targeted ads captures consumers’ interest, increasing the likelihood of their attention, engagement, and subsequent actions such as making a purchase, signing up for a service, or taking other desired actions. Telly reports that partnerships with advertisers and brands are already in place, indicating their enthusiasm for this approach.
The data collection aspect extends beyond advertising possibilities, as Telly also has the opportunity to monetize by selling this data to third parties.
Given the extensive data collection involved, concerns arise regarding the responsible handling, storage, and potential misuse of sensitive information. While it is true that many smart TVs collect data, Telly argues that their model at least provides users with a free TV in return. Nevertheless, as Telly’s influence grows, regulators and industry watchdogs are likely to scrutinize their data collection practices.
With the first 500,000 sets due to be shipped this summer and additional sets to follow in 2024, it will be fascinating to observe the trajectory of this new model over the next 6-12 months. Given the apparent consumer demand, it would not be surprising to see similar approaches adopted by others in the near future.