Sony Pictures' Crackle Bursts onto Scene and Screen with Pioneering Studio Model

Monday, July 16th, 2007 
Sony Pictures Entertainment logo

Sony Pictures-owned company rewards and celebrates the best emerging online video creators

SAUSALITO, Calif. — Crackle, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company formerly known as Grouper, today announced the launch of its streaming entertainment network. Crackle’s comprehensive approach includes a unique programming and editorial strategy, wide-reaching global distribution platforms and collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment, the IMPROV Comedy franchise and other leading media companies. Crackle’s development of “fame partnerships” with these media and entertainment companies provides a launch pad for the best emerging video talent.

“Crackle’s irreverent editorial team, with a little help from our viewers, programs our provocative and entertaining channels for an audience of 25 million monthly unique users. We reward the best video creators with Crackle funding, promotion, syndication and even greater exposure to our large media partners. Great content surfaced from our open studio model is the key to our success,” said Josh Felser, founder and co-president of Crackle.

“The evolution of online video will bring viewers more professionally produced material,” said Sean Carey, senior executive vice president, Sony Pictures. “Crackle will provide this next wave of creative talent a forum that will give them the exposure and recognition they seek and deserve.”

Crackle’s new entertainment model includes:

  • World-Renowned Fame Partnerships – Crackle catapults top creators to fame with on-going access and exposure to leaders in the entertainment industry like Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Television, IMPROV Comedy Lab and soon many more.
    • Ambitious animators will have unprecedented access to artists from Sony Pictures Imageworks, an award-winning visual effects and animation company, and Sony Pictures Animation, the distinguished Hollywood digital animation studio. Winners of Wet Paint’s, Crackle’s edgy animation channel, quarterly contest will receive a cash prize and fly to Los Angeles to pitch Sony Pictures Animation executives for a chance to have their animated short theatrically released. Additionally, winners will be invited by Imageworks to attend Siggraph, the preeminent computer graphics conference, in August 2008.
    • A Crackle Studios development deal and a much sought-after pitch meeting with Columbia Pictures will be awarded on Shorts, Crackle’s Short Film channel. Quarterly contest winners will receive funding from Crackle Studios to develop and produce short form material for Crackle distribution. Winners will also fly to Los Angeles to pitch their feature film concepts to Columbia creative executives. A similar Crackle Studios development deal will also be awarded on Moving Targets, Crackle’s upcoming sketch variety channel. Quarterly contest winners will receive Crackle funding to develop projects for Crackle distribution. They will also meet with creative executives from Sony Pictures Television to pitch and present their television ideas.
    • The best emerging stand-up comedians spotlighted each month on High Wire, Crackle’s stand-up comedy channel, will win a chance to be center stage at the world famous IMPROV comedy clubs and have an opportunity to pitch their comedy shorts to the IMPROV Comedy Lab (a new comedy centric broadband content studio) creative executives for final production and distribution. The premier comedy club chain will offer one very hilarious contest winner a chance to fly either to LA, NY or Chicago to perform a 15 minute set on a hot ticket Thursday, Friday or Saturday night.
  • Multiplatform Distribution & Global Syndication – Crackle offers a multi-platform, global syndication network across Sony devices, IPTV, leading social networks and viral Web distribution (e.g., MySpace, Facebook, hi5, AOL, Piczo, WordPress and many more). For Sony consumers, Crackle now provides content across a growing list of Sony environments including the Sony PSP, Sony VAIO and Sony BRAVIA.
  • Engaging Original Content – Crackle delivers audiences original and engaging entertainment from a unique mix of undiscovered talent and well-known stars.
  • Crackle’s branded channels are seeded and given context by Crackle’s original productions while the company’s open studio model encourages all to submit their creative works to the channels. Here’s a taste of Crackle’s branded channels:
    • Judgment Day, a collaborative reality show where people “judge” people they don’t know and then interview them to find out if their assumptions were right.
    • Scrambler, a video music magazine with an indie rock focus.
    • High Wire, a virtual stage for stand-up comedy from nationally touring comics to amateur impersonations.
    • Wet Paint, short-form edgy animation.
    • Firehouse, sponsored by Rescue Me, Firehouse features real stories from real firefighters
    • Moving Targets, a sketch variety channel coming soon to Crackle.
  • Crackle has secured the exclusive, worldwide distribution rights to Mr. Deity, the brilliant, biting original comedy from writer/director Brian Dalton. Saturday Night Live alumna Julia Sweeney has dubbed it “Hilarious! I laughed really, really hard.” The 10 episodes currently on the site have received over 5.7 million views since March 2007. As a result of the overwhelming viewer response, Crackle has committed to an additional 10 episodes for Season Two which will premiere in Moving Targets, Crackle’s upcoming sketch variety channel.
  • Unique Editorial Perspective – Crackle’s new entertainment model includes an editorial perspective that combines the diverse voice of its audience, cultural tastemakers, and third-party partners who work in concert to spotlight and surface the most riveting videos. Crackle’s weekly People’s Choice Awards give the audience a say in what is featured too.
  • One-of-a-Kind User Experience – With Crackle, audiences will view videos in widescreen, 16×9 format, and have continuous viewing capability even while surfing through different channels on the site. The first major site to offer this seamless, dynamic stream of videos, Crackle audiences will no longer have to suffer through interruptions while browsing and discovering new videos.
  • Branded Environments for Advertisers – Crackle offers powerful brand building opportunities for advertising partners. In the coming months, Crackle’s premium channels will be paired with advertising sponsors as well as distinctive ‘skins’ to create unique branded environments that support the advertiser and genre specific videos. Advertisements will appear on each channel’s homepage, in addition to airing within the video player, creating a seamless branded environment within the network.
    • An example of Crackle’s innovative sponsorship opportunities includes Sony Electronics presenting sponsorship of all high definition viewing on Crackle, as well as providing a High Definition Headquarters with tips for producing, editing and viewing in high definition.