At the network TV Upfronts event in NYC, executives from Crackle, Sony’s ad-supported TV streaming service, explained their plans to challenge Netflix and Hulu for leadership in the premium TV streaming industry.
Crackle’s mission is to make a name for itself by creating premium original content that will only be available on Crackle. But unlike Netflix’s House of Cards or Hulu’s Moone Boy, Crackle will be ad-supported. Crackle knows that with video on demand, online streaming, and other options people have today to instantly watch programs, advertisers are missing out on reaching this audience. According to Eric Berger, GM of Crackle, the service is “the perfect combination of linear television and on-demand platforms” with their always-on concept. This concept revolves around the idea of having programming which someone can tune into as it’s live-streaming, as well as searching for the shows you want to watch instantly.
Crackle defines its audience as “rechargers” – young, affluent, digital-savvy, college-educated adults in the prime of their careers. Many of these rechargers could also be cord-cutters, or future cord-cutters. Although the current cord-cutting audience is relatively small (some estimate fewer than 5% of Americans cut the cord), if the trend continues or escalates, traditional advertisers will eventually lose their audience.
Crackle’s strategy is to provide original content with heavy-hitter celebrities in the forefront. Stars like Jerry Seinfeld, David Spade, and Dennis Quaid were in attendance to promote their new original series.
What’s Crackle’s strategy to gain advertisers? Crackle promises digital ads with 100% viewability, no ad-skipping mechanism for the viewers, audience verification (comScore vCE and Nielsen DAR) and addressable targeting.
Crackle is trying to move away from its www.crackle.com image. Sony seems to be trying to separate Crackle from what we think of as digital TV and move it towards a TV network. To help foster this brand image change, Crackle participated in the TV industry’s Upfronts rather than the digital Newfronts.