October 4, 2010
The following entertainment article was written for Spreety TV Online by professional journalist Carolyn Giardina.
Sony’s Crackle Makes Noise with Online Network
By Carolyn Giardina
Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Crackle online video network recently aired the finale of its latest comedy web series “Held Up.” And as the site continues to extend its content–a combination of movies (currently 250 and counting), TV series and original content–Spreety talked with Eric Berger, Senior Vice President, Digital Networks for Sony Pictures Television.
“Crackle is like a digital version of a cable network, for people who are looking at unplugging or looking for content when TV is not available,” Berger explained as the heart of the Crackle strategy. “We believe we have the best free movie service available online, and we are creating a brand and a programming experience so people can find the movies that they love –but also to provide an editorial context. So it is not just another aggregation service. It is editorialized and has context.”
Crackle primarily targets young males, and currently produces about four original series annually, aimed at this demographic and ranging from action to comedy.
An example is the upcoming original series, “Back Wash,” a buddy comedy set during a road trip, starring Joshua Malina, Michael Ian Black and Michael Panes. Viewers of the series–set to debut on Nov. 15–can expect guest appearances from actors such as Jon Hamm and Sarah Silverman.
“We believe brands will still matter in this space–that people like to be programmed to. They like connections among programming,” Berger said of Crackle’s direction. “Over time it is safe to say that you could see other brands. We have several brands in the TV space that we use to target different demographics (in the international market). Crackle is our first digital network.
“We think there is a very strong role for advertising in the marketplace. If look at services like Netflix and the deals that they have done, we look at that as validation that streaming rights have value.”
As the audience for this content expands, Berger noted that a remaining challenge is to help consumers to reach these destinations. Speaking of services such as Spreety, he said: “We are thrilled that there are companies out that are making it easier for consumers to sift through content on the web and find what they are looking for. There is a real need for that.”