Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Web video site Crackle.com will launch a pair of original series later this year along with a slew of theatrical movies as the property continues its evolution toward becoming a destination for premium, young-male-targeted content.
Due this summer is the action comedy series Dusty Peacock, which features an inept stuntman looking to perform one memorable stunt. That show was created by King of Queens star Kevin James and stars his brother Gary Valentine. Also in the works is the action drama The Bannen Way, which depicts a con man trying to change his ways.
During an upfront presentation at Sony’s New York headquarters on Wednesday (Apr. 29) Sony executives touted the show’s high production values compared to most Web originals. “We don’t believe anything’s been done like this before online,” said Eric Berger, senior vp, digital networks for Sony Pictures Television.
The Bannen Way follows Crackle’s recent launch of the comic book inspired action series Angel of Death, which debuted in March. Berger called that show “a bona fide Web hit” - one that had already delivered five million views.
Bannen and Angel, along with comedies such as the David Faustino (Married...With Children) vehicle Star-ving, form the foundation of what Crackle.com sees as a differentiator in the crowded online video space, said Berger. The site is aiming to create the Web’s version of appointment TV, with four different “seasons” throughout the year and plans to launch new series nearly every quarter.
“We believe you won’t find a better selection of content,” Berger told a group of media buyers at Wednesday’s showcase event. “This not an aggregation play. This is about programming with this [men 18-34] demographic in mind...very few are doing the quality and volume of originals we are.”
Besides originals, Crackle will also add over 100 similarly guy-oriented movies to its programming slate, including Spider-Man 2, Stripes, A Few Good Men, La Femme Nikita and others. Honda has signed on as the premiere sponsor of Crackle’s new movie lineup. To complement its new movie focus, the site will also roll out Cinemactive, and interactive trivia game which employs famous movie clips.
In addition to Crackle, Sony made several other digital announcements during Wednesday’s event. For example, on the music front, executives said that the company can now sell ad inventory across multiple sites and channels where its music artists’ content is distributed, including for the first time on Sony’s 2,300 branded YouTube channels
Plus, via the recently formed Sony PlayStation Network group, the company’s sales executive can now offer advertisers access to ad inventory on multiple gamer-centric platforms at once, including the fast growing PlayStation store, where brands can create proprietary channels, and in the fledgling virtual world Sony Home.