Crackle Bolts From NewFronts. Will Online Video Survive?

After last year’s NewFronts presentation by Crackle, I wrote, that “the Sony-owned digital network apparently wanted to make it clear. . . that it is in the TV business, not an ‘online content provider’ or whatever more unwieldy term that could be used.”

And now it’s made itself very clear by pulling out of it NewFront presentation this year altogether.

“We feel that our content, which is long form and premium” is “akin to what brands are looking for from TV networks so we’re aligning ourselves with that,” Eric Berger, general manager of Crackle, told CMO Today, the Wall Street Journal blog.

In any conversation about Crackle, you can never forget to mention “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” the Jerry Seinfeld vehicle (literally). But there’s also “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”  



With a lineup like that, you can understand why Crackle will bolt NewFronts to present its case to advertisers at the same time cable networks are doing the same. It thinks it belongs there. Berger says while Crackle has been delivering high-value content -- like “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” -- many of the other NewFront participants aren’t.

I’m being unfair.

Over time, Crackle also has produced “Chosen” and “Sequestered” and “Cleaners,” a new sports game chosen “Sports Jeopardy” and a made-for-Crackle film, “Throwaways,” exec produced by Jeremy Renner. It is a place to see a lot of old Sony series, and all of them premium. We never saw “Tightrope,” a fascinating idea for a series, exec produced by Bryan Cranston, hyped at NewFronts last year and never heard from again.

For what it does, Crackle does OK. You kind of think that when it sees what Netflix and Amazon are doing without advertising that it could make a more noticeable ripple in the online content producing business, and set itself as a leader in the ad-supported online business rather than above it all. I don’t find many raves for Crackle out there.

In the end, it is a lot like TV, though at last year at its NewFronts presentation, Berger said over-the-top viewing is where millennials are headed, and that a quarter of them are already unreachable via conventional TV. A year ago, those were reasons for Crackle to be at the NewFronts.

RANT: Maybe next week everybody will come to their senses, but the mania around the color of the dress (I will not explain) is a dreary, dreadful episode and a depressing documentation of what a waste going “viral” can be.

The firepower expended on this ocular illusion included a segment on the “Today” show (it spent three minutes on it, and the hosts voted on what they saw) and a far too-deep appraisal of the issue by the otherwise-sensible Ezra Klein on Vox, which seems to be doing Stormwatch-like team coverage of the issue. All around there are many many stories about how Twitter is exploding with interest on this very important topic, which will be forgotten by next Tuesday, like Left Shark.

I’m not in much of a position to lament how much time and energy is spent on trivia--after all, I spend a lot of time on YouTube. But not long ago, bad media proliferated because overnight Nielsen ratings gave a daily snapshot of what was irrationally popular and caused big media to produce more and more of it. It often turned out badly, as is what usually happens when small tastes are extended like Hamburger Helper.

Now, that analysis comes more or less instantly on social media, where slight matters caught trending are then done to death and then the trending itself becomes a story until an above-it-all news organization steps back and asks: “Is America’s obsession with a tricky dress a sign of our deeper disillusion?” It’s such a waste of time, raised to the level of commerce. I’m engaged! With nonsense.

2 comments about "Crackle Bolts From NewFronts. Will Online Video Survive?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 2, 2015 at 5:26 p.m.

    Hmmm? One out of four 18-34-year-olds are "unreachable via conventional TV". Really? I wonder where that finding came from?

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, March 3, 2015 at 7:34 a.m.

    Ed, three out of four statistics cited by media owners and publishers are wacky. (OK, I made it up but it often seems that way.)

Next story loading loading..