Crackle Plus will launch a free, ad-supported streaming network named for its parent company's core brand, Chicken Soup for the Soul, this fall.
The network will include both a video-on-demand platform and a linear free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channel, Crackle Plus announced during its NewFronts presentation on Monday.
Focused on inspirational and informational content for adults and families, the network will be anchored in part by content from Sonar Entertainment, which was recently acquired by Crackle Plus.
Sonar’s content — which spans more than 700 movies and 1,800 TV episodes, including unscripted shows, documentaries and home, food, DIY, style and travel programming — will also position the company to launch more AVOD networks and help accelerate its international growth, Crackle Plus executives said.
The company, which previewed its new slate of programming during the presentation, has more than doubled its original and exclusive content offerings on its AVOD networks Crackle and Popcornflix in the past year, adding more than 200 hours of programming through sister companies Screen Media Ventures and Landmark Studio Group.
Crackle parent Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment has also just formed Halycyon Television, a high-end premium scripted television studio led by David Ellender, which will seek development, financing and production deals in Europe as well as develop content in the U.S.
Crackle Plus will also expand the distribution of its linear and VOD networks, currently accessible in the U.S. through 31 devices and services.
By the end of 2021, 34 new VOD and digital linear touch points will be added for the new AVOD and existing streaming platforms Crackle and Popcornflix, including on Plex, Philo, Xumo, FuboTV, Comcast Flex, Xfinity and Redbox.
In addition, the company plans to offer upgraded apps and user experiences for television and smartphones, starting in the third quarter.
Redesigned Crackle CTV apps will offer improved ways to display content and search recommendations, and a content calendar.
The smartphone app will feature a new feed on the home page to update viewers on upcoming content and provide recommendations. A super casting feature will allow users to browse for content on smartphones and automatically play back on any device.
Vizio will be Crackle Plus’s exclusive promotional partner for the app and experience launches, with a campaign that will include a Crackle-branded remote button, inclusion on Vizio’s retail packaging and joint testing of content and creative performance with Vizio’s SmartCast audience.
On the advertising front, Crackle Plus last week announced a deal to use TransUnion’s identity and audience solutions, including onboarding advertisers’ first-party data, modeling and custom audience building.
In recent months, the company has also expanded the channels available to advertisers through partnerships with third-party streamers Funimation and Crunchyroll, and extended its deal with Plex to allow for selling advertising across that entire platform.
During the presentation, Crackle Plus promoted its networks’ negligible overlap with linear TV and ability to help advertisers reach new households more economically at lower frequencies.
In more than 60 campaigns conducted with iSpot in Q4 2020, there was virtually zero overlap when brands had similar exposure on linear and its networks during the same time periods, according to the company.