NewFronts 2014: Crackle Rolls Out New Content and Sets Renewals

In its second NewFronts outing Wednesday, Crackle offered a mix of talent appearances, ad data and strategic positioning, with execs touting more than 100 episodes of original programming and a distinctive “studio system” approach to digital content.

Before the presentation at a Chelsea gallery space, the Sony-owned platform announced an extension with Acura as the sponsor of Jerry Seinfeld’s Emmy-nominated Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Crackle also said the show has been renewed for four more seasons, through 2016, with the next season featuring guests such as Jon Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker and Aziz Ansari.

New series and features were announced from producers/stars such as Bryan Cranston (pictured left, black-and-white 1950s gumshoe comedy Tightrope), Jeremy Renner (hacker thriller film Throwaways) and Robert Downey Jr. (music-themed performance/education doc series Play It Forward). New legal thriller series Sequestered is also in the works, starring Jesse Bradford.

Crackle also announced Dan Patrick, NBC's Sunday Night Football host and a former ESPN anchor, as host of weekly game show Sports Jeopardy. Plans call for an episode to air each week for 52 weeks. Patrick, who also hosts a popular podcast simulcast on NBC Sports Network, said Sports Jeopardy has an unabashed “man-cave” feel. “The only thing we’ll be missing will be beer on tap,” he said.

Returning for additional seasons will be Chosen, toplining Chad Michael Murray, and Cleaners, starring Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gina Gershon and David Arquette.

Eric Berger, executive VP of digital networks for Sony Pictures Television and general manager of Crackle, focused his remarks on the evolution of viewing. He said Crackle is embracing cord-nevers, citing multiple research studies that show streaming services to be gaining in popularity with the 18-34 demo. “People are taking control of their TV experience,” he said. “We promised a new network for a new living room and we have delivered it.”

“As both studio and network, Crackle controls content and distribution,” he noted. This setup allows Crackle to provide detailed plans for marketing and viewer acquisition around content, he added. “With unmatched OTT distribution, we’re offering the next evolution of television, including an audience not reachable through traditional television.”

The company also announced a video upfront agreement with Spark, part of Publicis Groupe, that gives the agency and its clients access to premium video inventory across Crackle. The deal includes a first look at a number of integrations into Crackle original shows and movies and also offers a first look at upcoming measurement and video capabilities.