Crackle offers an entirely free OTT (Over The Top) video streaming platform. It is managed jointly by Sony Pictures Television, Columbia Pictures, and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment.
You can watch almost all types of content through the platform without going through any sign-up process. The company generates revenue through ads.
If you look around on the internet, you will find a lot of video streaming services. However, if you look into them carefully, you will find that they all have something ubiquitous.
The services cost you money because you will have to get a cable connection, which is costly. However, with Crackle, you don’t have to deal with any of these headaches.
Crackle was formerly known as Groper, but in 2006, Sony Pictures purchased it for $65 million. They later renamed it Sony Crackle. However, the streaming service’s controlling stake was sold off to CSS-Chicken Soup for the Soul in March 2019.
Now, Australia and the US enjoy access to Crackle for free. Crackle also offers subscription-based services in Caribbean countries.
Current Business Model
Like other free video streaming platforms, Crackle also has the AVOD (Advertiser-supported Video on Demand) business model. This means that you don’t have to pay for watching your favorite shows.
However, you will have to deal with commercials while watching the content. Actually, there is nothing wrong with it, given its ad-supported business model. Even though some users may feel annoyed with this, Crackle is still quite popular.
You have to deal with 2 to 3 shorter ads of around 30 seconds while watching the show. However, you can block the ads while streaming.
How Crackle Makes Their Revenue
During the Q1 of the year 2019, Crackle witnessed around $11 million of revenue with $3.5 million of operating income. On the other hand, the adjusted earnings were $3.44 million. Source
Currently, CSS Entertainment has planned to run Crackle as an ad-supported VOD and free service. This plan consolidates the entire operations with CSS’s other popular ad-supported platforms such as Frightpix, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Comedy, etc.
When you examine Crackle’s statistical data, you’ll find out that it is not performing well. It has a global rank of 26,002. In the United States, it ranks at 6,996. The company needs to come up with some serious business plans to compete with others.
Regarding the Crackle website’s total visits, it had 2.27 million visits in June 2020. 67.34% are from the United States, while 3.94% of visits are from the United Kingdom.
Crackle also has its own YouTube channel with more than 535K subscribers. The channel now has around 412 videos, and combinedly they have generated around 6.8 million views. Every day the platform receives around 12.5K views.
On the other hand, its audience base is growing every month, and as per the data in the last three months, the Crackle YouTube channel has received 377% of audience growth. Check this out:
Here is a graph that shows the familiarity level of Crackle among U.S. adults. The result was obtained from an online survey in March 2020.
It shows that only 42% of U.S. adults have heard about the platform, but they don’t have any subscriptions. The strange thing is that around 41% of them don’t even know about its services.
Here’s What Crackle Should Do
Crackle needs to create a keen awareness about its presence to increase its viewership. Additionally, Crackle needs to add or license more content, especially original content, to attract a loyal user base.
Content quantity on Crackle may not be as large as its competitors. However, it has some impressive on-demand moves along with some well-known TV series.
Besides, it also offers a few original programs. It should be noted that the content on Crackle rotates frequently based on the agreement with content providers.
Speaking about the on-demand movies, it has a few good names. Examples include The Longest Yard, A Few Good Men, 28 Days, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Karate Kid Series.
Coming to its on-demand TV series section, users may not find an extensive library. However, you can watch some well-known shows. Some examples include Charlie’s Angels, The Ellen Show, All in the Family, Sanford, T.J. Hooker, and Marvel Animated Series.
The best thing is Crackle also offers some original channels. It has around 11 original films and 16 original TV series. Some of the famous original contents are SuperMansion, The Art of More, Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy, and more.
It is from Viacom CBS that offers a lot of NBC and other popular content along with on-demand movies. It also offers TV series as well as original programs. Pluto TV also offers a different tier from Hulu, Netflix, etc.
With its free tier, one can watch thousands of hours of big-budget original shows, skit-style clips, news, movies, and more. It offers content from a widespread network such as Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV.
In 2020, it added the popular AMC series The Walking Dead. As there is no monthly subscription, users have to deal with advertising.
This is specially designed for people who are using Roku’s streaming products. However, one can also enjoy the content of Roku on a PC or smartphone. It is quite popular among users for its content offerings.
It has more than 100 live channels. The on-demand content is quite heavy on reality shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Hoarders, Cold Case, and more. Besides, Roku Tv also has a kid section.
You can watch a few older movies like Donnie Darko, Stand By Me, The Karate Kid, and more. On the other hand, users can also subscribe to the Amazon Video Channels, Apple TV, HBO, and more.
This is Walmart’s streaming service that comes with some amazing and newest content. It is a rental and on-demand streaming service.
As there is no subscription, viewers only have to pay for the content they want to watch. It also offers free, ad-supported shows and movies, and its popular new movies start at $14.99.
However, for older movies, the cost will be $3.99. All the TV shows start at $6.99 per show.
Crackle vs. Netflix
Currently, the major competitor of Crackle is Netflix. Netflix offers different content, including TV shows, on-demand movies, original series, and more. It’s also compatible with almost everything.
Netflix is available on iOS devices, Android phones and tablets, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, TiVo, Roku, Windows Phone, and more. One of Netflix’s best features is that you can switch to other devices as many times as possible.
Netflix has landed some significant deals to keep up with the currently increasing demand from the users. It has made deals with Sony, NBC, FOX, CBS, NBC Universal, DreamWorks Animation, and more.
Netflix has more titles than Crackle in terms of content, which can be a severe threat to Crackle.
Even though Crackle does not have the original content library of Netflix, it can offer fierce competition. It has two significant features that can make it stand out from others: it is entirely free to use and can be accessed from any device.
How Crackle is Beneficial to You
Crackle works great as a perfect no-cost alternative to costly subscription services. Besides, users can enjoy on-demand entertainment without paying any money. It looks like Crackle is now putting the full focus on action and comedy content.
As discussed above, it also has a few original shows and movies that you may not find on AMC, Netflix, or FX. On the other hand, Crackle also has a few acclaimed hits and some standout movies.
For example, you can go for Drive, Shaun of the Dead, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Blackman, Stomp the Yard, and Urban Legends. Besides, you can also find Paul Shore like favorite comedy shows.
Crackle updates its content every month, pulling out some fantastic movies and TV shows while also refreshing it.
Conclusion: Long and Short Term Plans
Currently, Crackle is available in 21 countries. The contents are available in three different languages: Spanish, Portuguese, and English. However, Crackle is losing its customer base in different countries.
Crackle – A Cross-Platform App
Crackle closed down its Canadian operation on 28th June 2018. Its content was moved to CTV Throwback services and CTV Movies of Bell Media. Even though Sony-owned services, it has not been made available for Sony’s Smart TV and PlayStation.
Another strange thing is that Crackle is available on Samsung Smart TVs and Microsoft’s Xbox. Sony needs to work on this availability issue to increase the customer base for Crackle.
Crackle’s service was discontinued in Latin America on 20th April 2019, making it lose an enormous viewer base. The company should start focusing on expanding its video streaming business to other territories.
However, after the intervention of CSS Entertainment, the platform has witnessed an excellent performance. It even got a new name: Crackle Plus. CSS Entertainment brought six ad-supported networks, such as Trulia, Frightpix, Popcornflix original, Kids, and Comedy.
How Crackle Intends to Maintain Its Lead
This combination will help Crackle to become one of the leading AVOD platforms in the United States. How?
It’ll lead through its 10 million monthly active users, 38,000 combined hours of programming, and 26 million registered users. It also has 100+ networks and 90+ partnership-based content. Source
Crackle is also planning to offer more original content for its users. It is sporadic to see service providers offering so much of the original content.
Furthermore, the unique nature of AVOD services has made Crackle a safer investment than other streaming services Sony owns.