Philo Adds Crackle, Bloomberg TV Content

Online TV serivce Philo April 20 announced it is adding ad-supported Crackle, owned and operated by Crackle Plus, to its platform. Philo is also adding Bloomberg TV and Revry. Bloomberg TV gives viewers live access to the latest news in business, markets and technology, and Revry brings the first global streaming network focused on the LGBTQ community.

“Philo offers affordable TV content to their fast growing audience and we are thrilled to give them full access to Crackle’s library of Hollywood blockbusters and classic TV shows, as well as a growing collection of original and exclusive content not available on any other platforms, such as ‘Going From Broke,’ which will launch a second season on May 20,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

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Philo’s subscription package includes more than 60 live channels and 60,000 current on-demand offerings for $20 per month. Earlier this month, Philo partnered with T-Mobile to offer Philo for $10 per month to all T-Mobile and Sprint postpaid subscribers.

“The addition of new content from Crackle, as well as Bloomberg TV and Revry, further highlights Philo’s commitment to provide our customers with the best TV viewing experience at a great value,” said Mike Keyserling, COO and head of content acquisition at Philo. “We’re glad to be able to add these incredible channels to our robust line-up of programming for Philo viewers.”

 

AVOD Crackle Bows on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex

Crackle Plus, one of the largest operators of streaming advertising-supported video-on-demand networks, April 14 announced the launch of the Crackle app on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex.

The move marks another step by legacy pay-TV operator Comcast to embrace competing content distribution models on its platform, beginning with Netflix and YouTube in 2016.

“Crackle is thrilled to bring Xfinity X1 and Flex customers Crackle’s extensive originals and exclusive series, as well as a growing library of movies, docu-series, sports content, and classic TV,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

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With this launch, Xfinity subscribers can now enjoy the full Crackle experience, including a free library of studio film titles and classic TV series as well as a growing list of original and exclusive programming such as: “Playing With Power: The Nintendo Story,” “Insomnia,” “Black Water: Abyss,” “Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story,” “Robert the Bruce,” “Spides,” “Corporate Animals,” “Blue Iguana,” “Anything is Possible: The Serge Ibaka Story,” “Road to Race Day,” “On Point,” “Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters,” “The Clearing,” “Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life” and “Going From Broke,” now in production for a second season.

In the coming weeks, X1 and Flex subs will also be able to find Crackle programming by saying the name of Crackle titles, such as “Playing With Power: The Nintendo Story” into the Xfinity Voice Remote. Additionally, they will soon be able to browse Crackle programming aggregated within collections as “Free to me,” “Top genres” and “What to Watch” right alongside all of the other programming available to them on X1 and Flex.

Crackle content is available in the U.S. on 29 devices and services, including Amazon Fire TV, Roku TV, Apple TV, Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), gaming consoles (PS4 and XBoxOne), Plex, iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktops at Crackle.com. Crackle is also available in approximately 500,000 hotel rooms in the Marriott Bonvoy chain.

Crackle Plus Expands AVOD Rollout

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, one of the largest operators of ad-supported streaming video networks, March 22 reported that it has increased its distribution of branded Crackle Plus platform to 41 touchpoints, above its prior target, and now is expanding this initiative with plans to reach a total of 64 consumer touchpoints.

The Crackle Plus networks, including Crackle and Popcornflix, are available on a variety of platforms and services as both linear and VOD offerings. Crackle Plus networks are offer a wide selection of movies, TV series, and original and exclusive programming. Expansion of Crackle’s distribution is a key part of the company’s broader marketing strategy to drive more viewers to its original and exclusive content.

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“Our company has found that distribution has proven to drive increased viewership of our networks, and can bring up to hundreds of thousands of new viewers over time,” CEO William Rouhana said in a statement.

Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said expanding consumer touchpoints makes it easier to growth average monthly users and awareness.

“Our aim is to make our free movie and TV content available to all viewers on all available platforms, including streaming devices, game consoles, connected TVs and FAST networks,” Guelton said. “As we add new distribution touchpoints and develop both new AVOD and linear channel offerings … we are capturing a growing audience of unique, hard-to-reach consumers for our advertising partners.”

Crackle Plus Ups Plex AVOD Deal With Direct Advertising Support

Crackle Plus, the ad-supported VOD platform, March 11 announced it has entered into an agreement with streaming media platform Plex to handle the service’s direct ad sales. The expanded relationship will allow the Crackle Plus ad sales team to market Plex to marketers and consumer brands in the U.S.

Plex and Crackle began working together in May 2020. This was followed by the launch of a Popcornflix VOD offering on Plex in November 2020 and the launch of the first linear channels from Crackle and Popcornflix in the U.S. in December 2020 and January 2021.

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“With this strategic advertising relationship we are extending our successful content and distribution agreements to represent the entire Plex content offering to the advertising community,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

Plex offers 160+ free-to-stream live-TV channels, as well as podcasts, Web shows, news and music. Content partners include  Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, Lionsgate, and Legendary, as well as free-to-stream live-TV channels from AMC and A+E, among others.

Crackle Plus will use Plex’s content library to market specific and brand-safe packages for their advertising partners in the expanding AVOD market.

“Crackle Plus has been a valued partner in every part of our expansion into offering consumers great free-to-watch movies and TV shows,” said Shawn Eldridge, VP of strategic alliances at Plex. “Working with them for direct ad sales is a natural extension that will allow easier campaign planning for advertising partners.”

AVOD Ups Targeted Ad Game

NEWS ANALYSIS — On the heels of ad-supported streaming service Crackle Plus, a joint venture of Sony Pictures Television and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, inking a deal with online ad supplier SpotX, the erstwhile AVOD market (or free ad-supported streaming TV, or FAST) is ratcheting up efforts to deliver targeted viewers to marketers.

Roku is set to acquire Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising business, which includes video automatic content recognition and “dynamic” ad insertion technologies. The acquisition will help accelerate the streaming media device manufacturer’s attempt to offer TV advertisers to select consumers online and linear.

Traditional broadcast audiences have fallen, as SVOD services such as Netflix, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video are ad-free. As a result a market has emerged for FAST services, resulting in new ways to reach audiences and drive revenue for content holders and advertisers alike.

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FAST platforms such as ViacomCBS-owned Pluto TV, Comcast-owned Xumo, Fox Corp.-owned Tubi, Amazon-owned IMDb TV, Rakuten TV, and The Roku Channel have developed a new form of streaming TV with upwards of 40 million active monthly viewers streaming curated linear channels supported by VOD programming.

Futuresource Consulting estimates that more than 40% of U.S. online households now regularly use one of the new generation of FAST services, up from around 33% a year ago. NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service has adopted a hybrid SVOD/FAST approach, along with other international broadcasters.

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“[FAST] is particularly appealing to advertisers because it offers little overlap with traditional broadcasters, thus providing incremental reach against the increasing audience of cord cutters,” Mike Laband, SVP of platform at SpotX, said in a statement.

Indeed, the company recently inked a deal with Redbox’s Free Live TV to connect media buyers with content that runs across the SpotX platform, offering supply content in both open and private marketplaces as well as access to exclusive video inventory.

“[SpotX has] valuable insights and expertise in driving programmatic demand and can help us efficiently maximize our platform’s capabilities,” said Terrence Coles, senior director of Redbox Media Network.

Crackle Plus Original Series ‘Going From Broke’ Begins Second-Season Production

Ad-supported VOD service Crackle Plus Feb. 16 announced that production has begun on Season 2 of its original series “Going From Broke.” The series is executive produced by Ashton Kutcher and hosted by Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig. Episodes will begin streaming on Crackle in March.

Going From Broke is an unscripted series that spotlights the financial epidemic of student loan debt. More than 44 million Americans are saddled with student debt totaling over $1.7 trillion dollars. The situation has been compounded the COVID-19 pandemic, record unemployment, and people on the emotional and financial brink. This series aims to empower people to overcome their crippling financial struggles and become CEO of their own lives.

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The second season features an updated format that follows six new cast members from around the country. During the six-week production, Crackle will experiment by shooting and airing new episodes in real-time, while anchoring a larger conversation using social media platforms. The real-time episodes will document the casts’ emotional and financial makeovers. Meanwhile, Rosensweig, Kutcher and parent Crackle corporate parent Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment will engage in a multi-platform conversation about debt issues.

Going From Broke is the first makeover show that invites the audience to engage with the cast, financial experts and each other across social media while watching the process unfold live,” Kutcher said in a statement. The actor “”Two and a Half Men”) executive produced both season one and two of the series.

The production culminates with finished episodes in May, ultimately revealing whether each cast member has succeeded in ‘going from broke.’

“We plan to incorporate the particular hardships introduced by the global pandemic and hope we will be offering helpful solutions to any of those struggling with financial burdens,” said William J. Rouhana Jr., CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment.

The first season of Going From Broke had a record-breaking launch on Crackle in October 2019, and won multiple awards, including the Webby People’s Voice winner for Reality Series and the OTT.X Impact Award for Most Impactful SeriesSeason one is available for free on Crackle.

Crackle Plus Launching AVOD App on Smart TVs

Crackle Plus, an advertising-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) service, Feb. 10 announced an agreement to launch its app on Smart TVs with the VIDAA smart operation system, including Hisense Smart TVs.

At launch, Crackle content on VIDAA will be available to their customers in the U.S. using their proprietary operating system. VIDAA customers will gain access to Crackle’s library of studio film titles and classic TV series as well as a growing list of original and exclusive programming, including “Breaking Beauty,” “Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story,” “Robert the Bruce,” “Spides,” “Corporate Animals,” “Blue Iguana,” “Anything is Possible: The Serge Ibaka Story,” “Road to Race Day,” “On Point,” “Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters,” “The Clearing,” “Insomnia,” “Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life,” and “Going From Broke,” recently picked up for a second season.

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VIDAA’s system gives users access to dozens of third-party streaming apps delivering entertainment as either video-on-demand or linear feeds. The VIDAA Smart TV platform was launched by Hisense in 2014,  amassing more than 20 million global installs since that time.

“Crackle is excited to partner with VIDAA and to offer free access to our growing library of originals and exclusives, as well as our expanding library of studio films, docu-series, sports content, and classic TV shows,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

Crackle linear and VOD networks are available in the U.S. and can be accessed on 29 devices and services including Amazon FireTV, RokuTV, Apple TV, Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), gaming consoles (PS4 and XBoxOne), Plex, iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktops at Crackle.com. Crackle is also available in approximately 500,000 hotel rooms in the Marriott Bonvoy chain. 

Crackle to Bow College Football Doc Hosted by Brian Bosworth

Crackle Plus, the ad-supported VOD service, Jan. 19 announced the premiere of its original sports docu-series “Bucket List,” launching on Feb. 1 and hosted by former mid-1980s college standout Brian “The Boz” Bosworth.

The series follows Bosworth as he tours eight of the best destinations in college football today, interviewing coaches, former players and fans to determine why each stadium deserves a spot on every fan’s bucket list. Schools include his alma mater University of Oklahoma, reigning national champions University of Alabama, Texas A&M, University of Texas, Louisiana State University, Clemson, University of Georgia and Auburn University.

Brian Bosworth

In one episode Bosworth reflects on an infamous NFL moment he had with Heisman winner Bo Jackson during a Monday Night Football game more than 30 years ago when the famed running back ran right over him. He also sits down with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, Texas’ Jamaal Charles, and current NFL stars AJ McCarron, D’Andre Swift, Tee Higgins, Christian Kirk, Dee Ford, Justin Jefferson, and Sterling Shepard., among others

“Many never get to experience the greatness of the college football landscape,” Bosworth said in a statement. “There’s something to be said for the beauty of these stadiums and impressive programs.”

Crackle adds “Bucket List” to a slate of AVOD exclusive titles, including “Insomnia,” “Spides,” “Heroes of Lucha Libre,” “Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story,” “Robert the Bruce,” “Corporate Animals,” “On Point” and “Going From Broke.”

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“This docu-series will keep our sports-hungry viewers wildly entertained, especially now that the college football season is over, and will be fascinating even for viewers who aren’t sports fans,” said Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus.

The series is distributed in North America by Screen Media, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company and the supplier of exclusive and original content to Crackle Plus. “Bucket List” was produced by CampusLore, a pro athlete-focused content development and media company specializing in college sports.

 

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Acquires Full Ownership of Crackle Plus

Media company Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Dec. 15 announced that it has acquired full ownership stake in Crackle Plus from co-owner Sony Pictures Television. The transaction come about when Sony exercised its option from a 2019 agreement to obtain $40 million of preferred stock in Chicken Soup in exchange for its stake in Crackle Plus. For the next 30 days, Chicken Soup has the right to pay Sony cash in lieu of some or all of the preferred stock. The company has already determined that it will give Sony some portion in preferred stock.

Sony Pictures acquired the service formerly called Grouper in 2006  and renamed the ad-supported streaming site Crackle. It was changed to Sony Crackle in 2018. Sony sold a majority stake in Crackle to Chicken Soup in March 2019, which renamed it Crackle.

“Sony has been an incredible partner for [us] and this transaction is the natural next step in our relationship,” CEO William Rouhana Jr. said in a statement. “We welcome Sony as a large shareholder and look forward to continuing to work closely with them.”

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Since acquiring Crackle, the Chicken Soup management has reduced the network’s cost structure, ramped up ad sales on its owned and operated networks and differentiated the network among other AVOD offerings (i.e. The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Tubi, Shout! Factory TV, etc.) through its complement of original and exclusive content. The Crackle Plus pipeline now comprises more than 10,800 movies and 22,000 television episodes available for its AVOD networks.

Crackle to Bow Original Mexican Wrestling Scripted Series, ‘Heroes of Lucha Libre,’ on Nov. 25

Crackle Plus, an ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) network, Nov. 17 announced the U.S. premiere of its original series “Heroes of Lucha Libre,” launching on Nov. 25. Directed by Alfredo Widman (The Red Thread), the 11-part scripted series stars professional luchadores Rey Mysterio Jr., Mil Mascaras, Tinieblas Jr., Alushe, Dragon Lee and Blue Demon.

“Heroes of Lucha Libre” celebrates and honors the rich cultural tradition of the Mexican professional wrestling, while integrating an imaginative comic book storyline. With a contemporary spin on the action in the ring, the series features superhero elements making it unique to other content of its genre. Produced and created by Joaquin Vodanovich alongside Alejandro Ortiz the series is written by Ortiz.

 

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“I grew up watching these heroes with my grandfather in Mexico. Now I want to share all those emotions and admiration with the world and help to inspire future generations,” co-producer Alejandro Ortiz said in a statement. 

The deal was negotiated by Patrick Hughes, Harvey Russell and Pablito Vasquez of Foundation Media, who are also executive producers on the project.

Crackle adds “Heroes of Lucha Libre” alongside original and AVOD exclusive titles including “Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story,” “Robert the Bruce,” “Corporate Animals,” “Blue Iguana,” “Spides,” “Road to Race Day,” “Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters,” “On Point,” “Anything is Possible — The Serge Ibaka Story,” “The Clearing” and “Going From Broke,” which was recently picked up for a second season.

“We are proud to add ‘Heroes of Lucha Libre’ to Crackle’s growing list of original series,” added Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus. “This family friendly show spotlights the exciting and historic cultural traditions for the sport and its famous Luchadors.

“Heroes of Lucha Libre” is distributed worldwide by Screen Media, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company and the supplier of exclusive and original content for Crackle Plus.