MUMBAI: Crackle - the free video streaming platform - backed by Sony Pictures Entertainment is strengthening its content library. It has now signed a deal with NBCUniversal for the exclusive rights to more than 140 movies over the next three years.
The agreement will see movies such as Ray, Jarhead and the remake of King Kong that will be will be exclusively available on the service but won’t appear on other ad-supported distributors including television channels.
This certainly cements the fact that Sony is much focused on improving its video streaming service, even after Crackle shut shop in UK beginning 1 April. This also shows its willingness to go against the grain of other streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu, which work primarily on subscription models.
This move makes Crackle something of a hybrid, operating as a streaming service but making deals like a television channel. The acquisition of exclusive rights provides the service with what it hopes will be content that draws viewers.
Since it is entirely supported by ads, Crackle's strategy is to appear on as many platforms as possible. The streaming channel is currently on 27 different devices including gaming consoles, streaming set-top boxes and connected televisions.
Crackle was formerly known as Grouper, which Sony bought in 2006 for $65 million. Its original iteration placed it in competition with YouTube more than streamers like Netflix. Sony decided to rebrand it as Crackle in 2007 as a streaming and movie TV library.
Sony has struggled more broadly, spinning off its TV business and selling its computer division.