Crackle Plus Launching Original Zombie Horror Film ‘The Clearing’ June 4

Crackle Plus, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment-owned ad-supported VOD platform, May 21 announced it would launch the original zombie horror film The Clearing on June 4. The film will debut on May 25 on the Crackle Channel on Amazon Fire TV devices, available for early access in 34 million U.S. homes.

Crackle, which is minority-owned by Sony Pictures Television, features other exclusive content, including Crown Vic, On Point, ’85: The Greatest Team in Football History, Wonders of the Sea, Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life and Going From Broke.

The Clearing stars Liam McIntyre (“Spartacus”) as a father who takes his daughter, played by Aundrea Smith (“Diary of a Future President”), on a weekend camping trip during a mysterious disease outbreak. The film also stars Sydelle Noel (“GLOW”) and Steven Swadling (“Kickboxer”).

Set at the dawn of a zombie apocalypse, The Clearing unfolds amid tensions between Tom (McIntyre) and his wife (Sydelle Noel) over his parental responsibilities and the time he spends with his young daughter Mira (Smith). Tom takes Mira on a camping trip, only to discover the impending disaster that leaves the pair trapped in a clearing in the woods, fighting to make it out alive.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“For the segment of our audience that loves zombie movies, The Clearing follows in the footsteps of our other horror offerings, such as Office Uprising and the Dead Rising film series,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

The film was acquired by Screen Media Ventures, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company and the supplier of original content for Crackle Plus. Seth Needle, SVP of Worldwide acquisitions at Screen Media Ventures, negotiated the deal on behalf of Crackle Plus.

Crackle is also available on Roku TV and streaming devices, Apple TV, most Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), Gaming Consoles (PS4 and XBoxOne), on iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktop at Crackle.com.

Crackle Joins Plex Streaming Video Platform

Crackle, the ad-supported joint venture between Sony Pictures Television and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, has joined Plex, a global streaming media platform.

Plex users will now have access to Crackle’s original content, including the recently released “On Point,” the docuseries following three high school players as they move through the AAU basketball tournaments and shoot for an enviable career in the NBA; “Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life,” and the zombie action film, “The Clearing,” starring Liam MacIntyre (“Spartacus”).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In addition to Crackle Originals, the library of content includes Chicken Soup for the Soul’s “Hidden Heroes” and “Everyday Edisons.”

“Plex has a passionate community of users and we are excited to give them full access to Crackle’s library of free movies and TV shows, including a growing number of Originals and Exclusives not available on other AVOD platforms,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, which majority-owns Crackle.

The Crackle content joins already available titles from Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, Lionsgate, and Legendary.

Follow us on Instagram

‘Chicken Soup’ Ups Q3 Fiscal Revenue, Loss

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment dramatically upped its profile earlier this year when it acquired majority ownership of ad-supported streaming service Sony Crackle from Sony Pictures Television.

The company said the acquisition increased third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) revenue 157% to $17 million from $6.6 million in the previous-year period. It also ballooned the company’s net loss to $13.3 million compared to a net loss of $200,000 in the year-ago period and a net income of $200,000 million before preferred dividends.

Online networks, which includes Crackle, Popcornflix and Pivotshare, generated $14.4 million in revenue compared to $1.8 million in the year-ago period.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The quarterly operating loss reflected certain non-cash or one-time expenses, including $4.7 million in non-cash amortization, $1.6 million of transitional expenses related to the Crackle Plus joint venture, and $1.2 million in film library amortization.

CSSE noted that if the aforementioned expenses were excluded from SG&A or cost of revenue, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment  would have reported a quarterly operating loss of $2.1 million.

“Our record third quarter results show the early promise of our transformation of our company into a leading AVOD network operator,” CEO William J. Rouhana Jr., said in a statement. “Crackle Plus is performing as expected, and our new original series ‘Going From Broke’ provides initial evidence of our growing network reach and engagement potential.”

The Ashton Kutcher-produced series has generated more than 5 millions views since launching on Oct. 17.

Rouhana said the company is “reinventing” its distribution and production business to focus on “innovative” studio launches, library content acquisitions and sponsor-funded original productions.

“We already see significant positive business momentum in the fourth quarter, where we expect to see a combination of all our primary strategic pieces in place for the first time, setting the stage for potentially significant growth in 2020,” he said.

TiVo Prepping Ad-Based VOD Service

Digital video recording pioneer TiVo is looking to join the “+” video bandwagon.

The company is quietly assembling an ad-supported video-on-demand service to compete against platforms such as The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Philo TV, Shout! Factory TV, Tubi, Crackle+ and  IMDb TV, among others.

In a post on the TiVo community blog, Ted Malone, VP of consumer products and services, said the company has secured third-party content agreements for the service.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Our soon to be launched TiVo+ video service will include dozens of channels of free entertainment,” Malone wrote. “We have assembled an amazing set of partners as part of this service and will be evolving it in the coming months with many more channels, on-demand movies and shows and other specialty content coming as well.”

With Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu dominating the subscription VOD market as pioneers in the space, ad-supported VOD has emerged as a free alternative to consumers featuring largely catalog content.

With studios and other content holders eager to mine a new revenue stream, AVOD has gone mainstream beyond early pioneers Shout! Factory and Sony’s Crackle.

TiVo last week announced it would begin rolling ads playing ahead of consumers’ recorded TV content.

Malone, in his post, reiterated that users will be able to skip the ads, which are “served dynamically” when playback starts. Ads do not appear after a user pauses and resumed playback of content.

“As part of our commitment to improve the experience, we are measuring each step in the process and will be continually optimizing the ads to reduce latency and improve performance,” he wrote.

 

Crackle Plus Names Four Senior Executives

Crackle Plus, the revamped 13-year-old ad-supported VOD service co-owned by CSS Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television, has added four senior executives.

Philippe Guelton, EVP of CSS Entertainment, is now president of Crackle Plus, reporting to Elana Sofko, COO of CSS Entertainment.

Joining Guelton are three former Sony Crackle executives: Darren Olive, who becomes EVP of ad sales; Jason Schaeffer, who becomes SVP of business development, marketing and business intelligence; and Tony Simon, who assumes the position of SVP, content operations.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Sony in March sold majority stake in Crackle to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSS Entertainment) in a stock transaction whereby it received 4 million warrants to buy CSS Entertainment stock.

Crackle has more than 38,000 hours of programming and 10 million monthly users.

CSS, which also owns ad-supported platforms Popcornflix, Truli, Popcornflix Kids, Popcornflix Comedy, Frightpix, and Espanolflix, is expected to meld the services into Crackle Plus.