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|Headquarters||Culver City, California, United States|
|Parent||Sony Pictures Entertainment|
Sony Crackle is a United States-based subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment which provides ad-supported video entertainment content in the form of streaming media. Its library consists of original, long form content including StartUp, Snatch, SuperMansion and The Oath, as well as programming acquired by other production companies. The streaming network is available in 21 countries including Latin America and is accessible on connected devices including mobile (iOS or Android), tablet, smart TVs, desktop and through gaming consoles. It can also be seen in-flight on American Airlines' and in Marriott Hotels.
Originally known as Grouper, and later renamed to Crackle, the name of the streaming service was officially changed to Sony Crackle on January 14, 2018.
Grouper (later renamed Crackle) was founded by Josh Felser, Dave Samuel, Mike Sitrin and Aviv Eyal in 2004. In August 2006, Sony purchased the online video site Grouper for $65 million. In July 2007, Sony announced that Grouper would be re-branded and re-purposed as Crackle, a multi-platform video-entertainment network and studio, featuring full-length movies and television shows from Sony's library, and would produce original content made for the Internet. In late 2008, San Francisco based Crackle was moved to Sony's Culver City base to be formally folded into the studio's digital content operations.
In March 2011, Crackle became available for streaming across PS3, Roku boxes, Sony Blu-ray players and Bravia TVs. In April 2011, Crackle announced that they would release apps for iOS and Android systems in June of the same year. Crackle also partnered with Xbox Live, making its content available for Xbox 360. In June 2013, Crackle released an app for the BlackBerry 10 platform. In December 2013, Crackle made its content available for the Apple TV set-top box.
In January 2012, Crackle added Animax to its content, available to viewers in the US and Canada. Towards the end of 2013, the Animax branding was removed. In Australia, Crackle became the free-to-air home of Sony's popular American soap opera Days of Our Lives after the television broadcaster Nine Network axed the series after 45 years.
Several anime shows from Funimation (some outsourced from Animax and others, since November 20, 2013, directly from Funimation) are streamed on Sony Crackle. On July 31, 2017, Sony Pictures Television announced that it would buy a controlling 95% stake in Funimation for $143 million, a deal that was approved by the United States Department of Justice on August 22, 2017, and closed on October 27, 2017.
On April 1, 2014, Sony Pictures Television ceased its Crackle operations in the UK and Australia almost four years after Crackle had expanded into the UK. Crackle UK had struggled to gain a large audience due to other competitors like LoveFilm and Netflix. Two days later, NBCUniversal Television & New Media Distribution struck a multi-year deal with Crackle to have more than 140 of NBCUni's feature films streamed. but Crackle shut down its UK service in April 2014 without prior notice.
On April 30, 2014, Crackle announced it would begin carrying Sports Jeopardy!, which as its name implies is a sports-themed version of the syndicated game show Jeopardy!, beginning that fall. Dan Patrick will host the series. Approximately one week after the cancellation of the theatrical release of The Interview, in the aftermath of the Sony hack, the New York Post reported that Sony would release the movie for free, on Crackle.
On April 14, 2015, Crackle held its first-ever upfront presentation. During the event, it announced a new feature dubbed "Always On"; a linear, ad-supported, internet television channel similar to Vevo TV. Among the new programs announced was Crackle's first animated series, SuperMansion; their first hour long scripted drama, The Art of More; and Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser, a sequel to 2001's Joe Dirt being touted as the first ever "made-for-digital" movie sequel.
On June 4, 2015, Crackle announced a new collaboration between Moat and Freewheel in the industry's first-ever comprehensive system to track viewable ad measurement across connected TV.
On October 8, 2015, Crackle premiered "SuperMansion", a stop-motion animated comedy television series created by Matthew Senreich and Zeb Wells. The series stars Bryan Cranston, Heidi Gardner, Tucker Gilmore, Keegan-Michael Key, Tom Root, Yvette Nicole Brown, Zeb Wells, and Jillian Bell. Emmy-nominated season two premiered on February 16, 2017 followed by an original Halloween special, "SuperMansion: Drag Me to Halloween", that premiered on October 5. Season three is expected in 2018.
On April 20, 2016, Crackle announced an innovative advertising solution that replaces convention at their upfront presentation called, "BreakFree" advertising. The BreakFree experience promotes binge viewing of Crackle's original shows while creating a story narrative for advertisers.
In addition, Crackle unveiled a new virtual reality strategy allowing advertisers to reach consumers through dynamic VR experiences. Designed to immerse and engage viewers, Sony's ad-supported streaming service is the first ever AVOD network to provide brands with advertising opportunities and marketing initiatives that take advantage of this latest disruptive technology.
On April 19, 2017, the AVOD service released results of new research study that identifies a new and highly coveted psychographic segment called "Connected Entertainment Enthusiasts". This segment is the first generation of gamers who use the game console beyond gaming. It is the preferred entertainment hub of their household for streaming TV, movies and for video games making them hard to reach through traditional media outlets. In addition, Crackle announced a VR companion piece to their original drama series "Snatch", which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2017.
Crackle also announced at the 2017 Upfront presentation that the free ad-supported service would greenlight new scripted original drama, "The Oath", written and created by former Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy Joe Halpin ("Hawaii Five-O", "Ice", "The Lottery"). Executive produced by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and his G-Unit Film & Television Inc., the series explores a different kind of subculture – gangs made up of those sworn to protect and defend. The drama stars "Game of Thrones" alum, Sean Bean, Ryan Kwanten ("True Blood"), Cory Hardrict ("American Sniper", "Gran Torino"), Arlen Escarpeta ("The Magicians"), Katrina Law ("Training Day") and J.J. Soria ("Animal Kingdom", "The Fosters). Rounding out the ensemble cast includes: Michael Malarkey ("The Vampire Diaries"), Eve Mauro ("CSI Miami"), Kwame Patterson ("The Wire", "American Crime Story"), Linda Purl ("Homeland", "True Blood") and Elisabeth Röhm ("Law & Order"). The series premiered March 8, 2018.
In November 2017, Eric Berger was upped to Chief Digital Officer, Sony Pictures Television Networks, in addition to his role as GM, Crackle.
On January 14, 2018, Crackle presented at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter 2018 Press Tour in Pasadena, CA where Eric Berger announced that the service would change its name to Sony Crackle in Spring of 2018. In addition to presenting a panel in support of "The Oath", the network also released a new trailer and key art for the 10-episode series that premiered on March 8, 2018. In addition, the network announced the development of two new series: "The Butcher" produced by Douglas Urbanski and Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) and "Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy" starring and written by Rob Riggle. The network also announced the acquisition of the comedy-horror Office Uprising which will debut summer 2018.
Returning series news included the start of production on season two of "Snatch" in Spain's Costa Del Sol and the announcement that "Entourage's" Kevin Connolly will direct several episodes. Also, season three of "StartUp" begins shooting this month in Puerto Rico with new additions to the cast including Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino. Plus, all-new weekly episodes of "SuperMansion" will return beginning April 12th, with special guest Mikey Day, and the network announced plans for a new special in summer 2018.
Snatch VR Heist Experience debuted on PlayStation VR January 16th, and a VR experience for "In the Cloud" launched February 1st, ahead of the February 8th movie premiere.
On March 8, 2018, Sony Crackle's original series "The Oath" premiered. On March 7th, Sony Crackle hosted a premiere event for the series on the Sony lot in Culver City. Guests included executive producer Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson as well as the cast and crew.
On April 24, 2018, Sony Crackle held an upfront presentation at Sony Headquarters in New York City. There, Eric Berger made the following announcements:
- Season two renewal for "The Oath", executive produced by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and starring Ryan Kwanten, who is also a producer.
- Network announces September launch of "Snatch" season two; as previously announced, Kevin Connolly of "Entourage" will direct multiple episodes of the Rupert Grint series.
- Release of first-look clip of Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino in her new role in season three of "StartUp;" the network also announced a November debut.
- "SuperMansion" has added award-winning actress Minnie Driver in a recurring role for season three of the Emmy-nominated stop-motion animated series from Bryan Cranston, Seth Green, Zeb Wells and Matthew Senreich.
- Acquisition of Nitro Circus' "Action Figures" and news about new Sony Crackle original, "Action Figures 2", premiering in June. This follow-up to the hit action sports movie is from 17 time X Games medalist Travis Pastrana. The network also acquired five series as part of the new deal with Nitro Circus.
- The network unveiled a development slate of scripted original series, including dramas "Heart of Darkness", "Hustle", "Cry Victory", and "Limitless: Origins", and the comedy "Squad Goals Squad".
- The network greenlit new unscripted shorts from Embassy Row and is partnering with NRG to develop a new eSports series.
Sony Crackle features programming in the following key genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Horror and Sci-fi.
Movie and TV library
Sony Crackle features many Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics, Funimation Productions, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions titles and Sony-distributed television series like Damages, Rescue Me, The Shield, and Seinfeld. Its content refreshes monthly, with titles being added and taken down.
- FOX Digital
- Lions Gate Entertainment
- Red Bull
- Universal Studios
- Entertainment One/Alliance Films (Canada only)
- The Walt Disney Company
- The Weinstein Company/Dimension Films
- Warner Bros./New Line Cinema
- Morgan Creek Productions
- Legendary Pictures/Legendary Digital Media
- RatPac-Dune Entertainment
- Village Roadshow Entertainment Group
- StudioCanal (Europe only)
- 20th Century Fox
- Paramount Pictures
- Discotek Media
Sony Crackle officially launched in Canada in September 2010. Beginning in late 2015, several of the service's original series were made available only through local services Shomi and Crave TV. Following the closure of Shomi in fall 2016, new productions continued to be released exclusively on Crave TV, as well as Amazon Prime Video and Super Channel. Crackle's Canadian operations shut down on June 28, 2018, with its content moving to Bell Media's new CTV Movies and CTV Vault services.
As of late 2016, Sony Crackle is no longer offered as a free service in Latin America. Instead, it is offered as an ad-free premium service. It is required to be a subscriber of a pay TV provider that has partnered with Sony Crackle in order to register as a member to access and pay for the service.
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