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Crackle Upfront: New Bingeing Ad Model, VR Content

Sony Streaming Service Creates VR Experience Designed For Advertisers

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Bryan Cranston, Eric Berger, Kate Bosworth and Dennis Quaid at Crackle's upfront presentation held at the New York City Center on April 2, 2016
Bryan Cranston, Eric Berger, Kate Bosworth and Dennis Quaid at Crackle's upfront presentation held at the New York City Center on April 2, 2016 Credit: Crackle

Crackle is creating some new experiences for advertisers, including revamping the commercial model for binge viewing and introducing marketer-driven virtual-reality experiences.

Dubbed "break free advertising," Crackle plans to stream just five ads per episode during its originals, instead of the traditional linear TV model of over 300 ads over the course of a series. The Sony streaming network made the announcement today at its upfront presentation in New York City.

The same five advertisers will have a spot in each of the 10 episodes, and those advertisers will be able to tell a story across multiple episodes.

For a marketer in one of these shows, it means less clutter since it will only be up against four other advertisers to capture the viewer's attention.

Crackle will package commercials with a story arc of content that will be threaded together across all 10 episodes. These story arcs could be narratives about the show's setting, insight about characters from the creators or a behind-the-scenes look at production, with the brand tied in.

Crackle also introduced a virtual reality experience designed for advertisers.

This includes a VR theater, where viewers watching through a VR headset can stream Crackle's entire content library in a fully immersive viewing environment. Marketers will be able to skin the theater with logos and ads and insert their own 360-degree commercials.

Crackle will also create its own VR content. It ordered a VR special of its stop-motion animated series, "SuperMansion" from Bryan Cranston. And it plans to produce extra VR content tied to its other original series that advertisers can sponsor.

LG Electronics, which recently introduced G5 and Friends – a suite of products that enable capturing and viewing 360-degree video -- will be the first marketer to take advantage of the VR opportunity. It will partner with Crackle to promote its new original drama "StartUp" with behind-the-scenes 360-degree footage.

The series, starring Martin Freeman, is slated to bow in the third quarter.

Crackle will be developing VR content for smartphones, Google cardboard box, Gear VR and PlayStation VR.

It will bring back the auction-house drama "The Art of More" and "SuperMansion" for sophomore seasons. Crackle has also picked up "Snatch," a drama based on the Guy Ritchie movie of the same name.

Crackle's live weekly quiz show, "Sports Jeopardy" has found a TV home. The show will air on NBCSN for two weeks following the network's coverage of the Rio Olympics. It will then return in the fall on NBCSN following Wednesday night NHL hockey game.

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