DirecTV Stream, the internet pay-TV arm of the satellite provider, has struck a distribution deal with smart-TV startup Telly.
New DirecTV customers signing up for the service, whose packages start at $65 a month, will get priority access to Telly’s waiting list for its proprietary dual-screen 55-inch TV. The startup, billing its device as a first-of-its-kind boon to advertisers, announced when it emerged from stealth this month that it plans to give away the first 500,000 sets it makes starting this summer. More than 100,000 customers joined the waiting list for the sets within the first 36 hours after it was established, according to Telly.
While Telly is designed to accommodate a range of pay-TV and connected-device inputs, the alliance with DirecTV offers it direct access to an established player. Spun off in 2021 by AT&T into a new entity 30%-owned by private equity firm TPG, DirecTV no longer publicly reports numbers, but industry analysts have estimated it had about 13 million subscribers at the end of 2022. That tally includes DirecTV Stream and U-verse cable systems.
“DirecTV has disrupted the pay TV industry since our founding nearly 30 years ago, and this collaboration with Telly allows us to continue that focus while providing additional value to first-time DirecTV Stream customers looking for new low-cost ways to enjoy their entertainment,” DirecTV Stream GM Vikash Sharma said in a press release.
Ilya Pozin, founder and CEO of Telly, also co-founded free streaming pioneer Pluto TV, which is now owned by Paramount Global. He said the venture will enable DirecTV Stream customers to be “among the very first homes in America to experience the ultimate television living room upgrade.”