Crackle Hopes a Customized Streaming Experience for Viewers Is a Big Hit With Advertisers

Network will focus on creating programming for a 'point-of-view'

Crackle wants to only host content it knows its audience wants.
Joe Dirt

With Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee moving to Netflix, streaming network Crackle is determined to continue creating programming based around psychographics rather than demographics for its 18 million monthly viewers. At this morning’s upfront presentation, the network rolled out the results of a study that looked at just that.

The Sony-owned network did a deep dive on the intersection of streaming entertainment consumers and people who own or use video gaming consoles. They discovered how those “connected entertainment enthusiasts” behaved, what they preferred and how they used those consoles to huddle up their households.

“Demographics are good, but psychographics are better,” said Eric Berger, the evp of digital networks for Sony Pictures Television and general manager of Crackle at the event. “Beliefs and values can predict intent better than age or gender.”

Crackle is positioning itself to advertisers under the entire Sony umbrella, as it can sell to advertisers space on both Crackle properties and also across PlayStation devices using a single ad serve on multiple systems.

“Free matters to these viewers, but they’re extremely receptive to ads,” said Berger.

About 90 percent of people surveyed by Sony and Crackle are open to watching ads in order to receive free content, and 80 percent prefer ads on streaming devices rather than ads on TV.

Crackle viewers have a 98 percent completion rate when shown an ad on the platform. This builds on Crackle’s break-free limited ad service provided for a “better binge-able experience,” said Berger.

On the programming front, Tim Kring, one of the creators of Heroes, will produce a tech-thriller project titled In The Cloud; original series Snatch and StartUp announced their second seasons; there will be a third season of SuperMansion, the Emmy-nominated stop-motion animated series; also look for VR experiences from Playstation.

“We’re also developing a piece of technology is in production and will be released ahead of In The Cloud,” said Berger.

Crackle partnered with 50 Cent’s production studio, G-Unit Film and Television Inc., to create a Los Angeles gang and law enforcement drama called The Oath. RPM, another series in development with 50 Cent, is also in production.

Tribes, a series based on a popular graphic novel, is in development; Accident Park is a series based around an accident-prone theme park; The Row is a new series about death row inmates who are given the chance to participate in a risky scientific experiment.

Crackle will also debut a new “channel” on its service that will act as a spotlight for editors to show viewers what content is popular or new that week. At the center of that will be a show called This Week On, which will be hosted by Ian Hecox, one half of the YouTube sketch comedy duo Smosh.

“He brings a strong following and a real connection to pop culture and entertainment,” said Berger.

Crackle wants to program to a sensibility, rather than a demographic, so as not to become all things to all people. Instead of trying to have every kind of programming for the sake of having it all, Crackle is focusing on what it needs to have to satisfy its audience. By curating and refreshing the content on a nearly daily basis, Crackle is showing advertisers how a digital platform with a library of fan favorites and original series can program beyond a stereotypical demographic.

“90 percent of our users prefer streaming entertainment over other forms,” said Berger, “and 70 percent of them stream or play video games daily. It’s an extremely important part of their life.”