Crackle Plus, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (Nasdaq: CSSE) company and the operator of streaming advertising-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services Crackle and Popcornflix, today announced a viewer-first strategy focused on serving the most relevant content and creating the best advertising experience for its growing audience.
“We are excited to introduce Crackle Plus, a majority-owned subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment formed with Sony Pictures Television, to the NewFronts after a year of rapid growth and momentum across our brands,” said Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus. “Through our original and exclusive programming, a viewer-friendly ad experience, and the use of proprietary data and insights, Crackle Plus provides an unmatched opportunity for marketers to engage with a hard-to-reach audience in a premium content environment.”
A viewer-first content offering
Based on viewers’ feedback and the success of recent Crackle originals, Crackle Plus unveils close to 200 hours of new Crackle original and exclusive programming during its NewFronts presentation. With original sports docuseries, scripted series, feature films and unscripted programming, Crackle aims to offer both content that entertains and content that empowers its viewers. As part of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Crackle Plus uniquely sources its original content from sister companies Screen Media, a leading content distribution company, and Landmark Studio Group, a production company of premium scripted and unscripted content.
In response to the extraordinary stay-at-home situation and the cancellation of school, live sports and events, Crackle also plans to present its recent focus on creating channels focused on super-serving its users around sports, DIY content and homeschooling, and has announced two new verticals: music and pets. Crackle and Popcornflix users have now access to over 10,000 movies and TV episodes, double the amount available just a year ago.
A viewer-first ad experience
Crackle already provides users half the ad load usually seen on linear TV (Source: Statista 2019), and over 90% of Crackle viewers embrace the exchange of watching ads in order to receive a free streaming service (Source: Magid and Associates/Crackle Audience Study: 2020 Growth and White Space Opportunities – January 2020). With the significant increase of monthly paid subscription models for streaming content, ‘free TV’ becomes even more valuable to the average consumer.
As part of its commitment to increase value for marketers while enhancing the viewer experience, Crackle Plus is unveiling two new innovative ad products during its presentation. First, a new interactive ad unit running at the beginning of a video stream, “FreeView”, allows for the elimination of mid-roll commercials throughout a Crackle original or exclusive series. Sponsors get unprecedented engagement and visibility while offering the audience a superior viewing experience.
Next offering is the “Jumbotron,” a prime video experience on Crackle’s home page where marketers can share with viewers a short form of branded entertainment or a full episode of a sponsored show. This exclusive offering fits particularly well with Crackle’s focus on original content.
During its presentation, Crackle Plus also unveiled proprietary research data from Magid and Associates, Nielsen and iSpot to demonstrate how it connects with a large “unreachable” audience not watching traditional TV, with 80% of Crackle viewers saying that they don’t watch linear TV, and sites a campaign that delivered two times the efficiency of linear TV. To prove that point, Crackle Plus made the unprecedented announcement that all upfront partners will receive an incremental reach study as part of their marketing plan.
As a trusted ad partner of anime mega brands Funimation and Crunchyroll, as well as through a newly announced partnership with Jukin Media, Crackle offers advertisers a direct buying opportunity with full transparency on where and when its media runs, with access to “communities of interest” at unparalleled scale and reach in OTT.
“In marrying our amazing content with the capabilities of leading data and technology partners to allow buyers to transact way beyond demographics, Crackle Plus is truly ‘TV with benefits,’” said Darren Olive, executive vice president, sales and strategy. “With more touch points than ever before, we look forward to helping our clients create real, authentic connections.”
A viewer-first product roadmap
With 47% of U.S. consumers planning to add an AVOD service in the next 12 months (Source: IAS, The Impact Of Stay At Home Behavior on CTV, April 2020), and as a backlash to SVOD increasing costs, Crackle and Popcornflix are natural destinations for audiences looking for free premium streaming content. A recent study uncovered 33 million additional untapped customers who have indicated interest in using Crackle (Source: Crackle Audience Study: 2020 Growth and White Space Opportunities – January 2020).
To reach these new viewers, Crackle Plus is accelerating the expansion of its consumer touchpoints. Crackle is available in the U.S. and can be accessed on 25 devices and services including Amazon FireTV, RokuTV, Apple TV, Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), gaming consoles (PS4 and XBoxOne), on iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktop at Crackle.com. After its recent launch on PLEX, Crackle Plus also announced today that its networks will soon be coming to Xfinity Flex and FuboTV. Crackle is also available in approximately 500,000 hotel rooms in the Marriott chain.
CRACKLE PLUS, A CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY
Crackle Plus owns and operates ad-supported VOD networks Crackle and Popcornflix and garners 50 million streams of its movies and TV shows per month, making it one of the largest AVOD streaming platforms in the U.S. Crackle Plus has over 78,000 hours of content available across all its networks, and premieres at least one original and one exclusive program each month, differentiating it from other AVODs. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) owns a majority stake in the company formed with Sony Pictures Television. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment also acquires and distributes video content through its Screen Media subsidiary and produces original long and short-form content through Landmark Studio Group, its Chicken Soup for the Soul Originals division and APlus.com. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC, which publishes the famous book series and produces super-premium pet food under the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand name.
ABOUT SCREEN MEDIA VENTURES, LLC
Screen Media Ventures, LLC, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) company, acquires the rights to high quality, independent television series and feature films for the US and Canada. Screen Media Ventures acquires worldwide rights for distribution through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, video-on-demand, and new digital media platforms. The company acquires AVOD rights for third party networks and is the main supplier of content for Crackle Plus and other Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment properties. With a library of over 1,500 television series and motion pictures, Screen Media Ventures is one of the largest independent suppliers of high-quality tv series and motion pictures to U.S. and international broadcast markets, cable networks, home video outlets and new media venues. For more information, visit screenmedia.net.
ABOUT LANDMARK STUDIO GROUP
Landmark Studio Group, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company, is a fully-integrated entertainment company, which aims to create compelling, engaging and entertaining content for global distribution utilizing internal distribution channels, including Crackle Plus and Screen Media Ventures, or in partnership with third party platforms. Recent projects include the feature film Willy’s Wonderland, starring Nicolas Cage; the action film series, Trigger Point; and the television series, Safehaven, as well as projects in active development to be produced in Fall 2020 and beyond, including the original dramedy series, Flagrant, starring Michael Rapaport. Landmark Studio Group is headquartered in New York with offices in Los Angeles.