What Is Crackle?
I have heard a few people mention it, I’ve see a few advertising it, but I had no idea what Crackle actually was. I knew it was film related, but I didn’t know anything more. I decided to do a little research, and so I started off by visiting Crackle itself. Here is what Crackle describes itself as:
Crackle, Inc., a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company, is a multi-platform next-generation video entertainment network that distributes digital content including original short form series and full-length traditional programming from Sony Pictures’ vast library of television series and feature films. Crackle is one of the fastest growing entertainment destinations on the Internet today, offering audiences quality programming in a variety of genres, including comedy, action, sci-fi, horror, music and reality. Crackle reaches a global audience through its impressive online and mobile distribution network.
From that description it appears that Crackle is basically a Hulu and YouTube competitor. Of course it does have a very strong card up its sleeve due to the fact it has access to the work of Sony Pictures, but why this website is necessary becomes a valid question. Apparently Crackle is fairly old, old in comparison to say Hulu. It was originally founded as the Grouper Networks in 2004, and through a series of acquisitions it has become the property of Sony and rebranded Crackle. Supposedly the concept behind Crackle is to advertise itself to a more specific market than Hulu, specifically males between the ages of 18-34. It would be interested to see the breakdown of Hulu watchers, but I would guess that is their largest demographic as well.
The thing that confuses me the most is that Sony also distributes some of its material through both Hulu and YouTube. With the exception of the material that is obviously exclusive to Crackle, it makes the need to visit Crackle decrease. There is some very cool material still, for instance I’m going to embed the Karate Kid 2 below (which we discussed in Episode 15 of the MacGuffin Podcast).
All in all, I’m not opposed to Crackle, but it seems like it doesn’t have much of a chance in competing with Hulu. The site doesn’t feel as well put together, the material isn’t particularly in demand, and it is not filling an empty niche. My hope is that it will inspire YouTube or Hulu to improve their services, but beyond that I don’t expect big things out of Crackle.