Crackle Taps Dennis Quaid, Bryan Cranston for New Shows

Jerry Seinfeld returns to streaming network, and takes swipe at YouTube

As the line between digital and linear programming blurs, Crackle doesn't want to be seen just as a brand's online ad option. It also doesn't want to be just another video site.

"We have a giant garbage can called YouTube for all that user-generated content," joked Crackle's No. 1 star Jerry Seinfeld at the Sony network's first upfront presentation Tuesday in New York.

Ditching the digital-centric NewFronts, Crackle presented a slate of original programming backed by guarantees of reliable measurement.

"What it's really about is reaching new desirable audiences," Crackle's general manager and evp Eric Berger said.

Berger emphasized that audiences can expect premium content whenever they load its channel. From the sixth season of Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, to Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser—the first digital sequel of a major motion picture—six new shows were announced, including:

  • The Art of More, Crackle's first hour-long scripted drama starring Dennis Quaid—fresh from his was-it-or-wasn't-it a meltdown?—and Kate Bosworth launches later this year.
  • Half-hour thriller Chosen, which will be extended into an hour-long series.
  • Coming this fall, SuperMansion, created by Seth Green and the team at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, known for their work on Robot Chicken. Emmy-winning actor Bryan Cranston will lend his voice to the project.

"For 10 years, we've made TV with Turner, and now we're excited to do it for Crackle," Green said.

To further emphasize that it's not just an online network, Crackle announced plans to revitalize its interface. With a new "always on" experience, powered by Adobe Primetime, scheduled content will start streaming as soon as the Crackle player launches—just like a TV show would be airing when a TV is turned on. Users can opt to restart the program, continue to watch or browse through a channel guide.

There are the traditional pre-roll, post-roll and sponsorship opportunities, but unlike broadcast and cable networks that generally only offer spots on shows, Crackle lets advertisers create native content, giving brands access to its production studio.

Programming will be measured by Nielsen's total audience measurement, which claims to be able to track viewers across screens. Crackle found a recent campaign with MillerCoors produced a 216 percent lift, with 100 percent viewability and 96 percent completion. Similarly, a Ford campaign created 175 percent brand lift, in addition to 100 percent viewability and 97 percent completion rate.