Sony Pictures' Crackle Bursts onto Scene and Screen with Pioneering Studio Model Sony Pictures-owned company rewards and celebrates the best emerging online

video creators



    SAUSALITO, Calif., July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Crackle, a Sony Pictures
 Entertainment Company formerly known as Grouper, today announced the launch
 of its streaming entertainment network. Crackle's comprehensive approach
 includes a unique programming and editorial strategy, wide-reaching global
 distribution platforms and collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment,
 the IMPROV Comedy franchise and other leading media companies. Crackle's
 development of "fame partnerships" with these media and entertainment
 companies provides a launch pad for the best emerging video talent.
     "Crackle's irreverent editorial team, with a little help from our
 viewers, programs our provocative and entertaining channels for an audience
 of 25 million monthly unique users. We reward the best video creators with
 Crackle funding, promotion, syndication and even greater exposure to our
 large media partners. Great content surfaced from our open studio model is
 the key to our success," said Josh Felser, founder and co-president of
 Crackle.
     "The evolution of online video will bring viewers more professionally
 produced material," said Sean Carey, senior executive vice president, Sony
 Pictures. "Crackle will provide this next wave of creative talent a forum
 that will give them the exposure and recognition they seek and deserve."
     Crackle's new entertainment model includes:
 
     --  World-Renowned Fame Partnerships - Crackle catapults top creators to
         fame with on-going access and exposure to leaders in the entertainment
         industry like Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks,
         Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Television, IMPROV Comedy Lab and
         soon many more.
 
       --  Ambitious animators will have unprecedented access to artists from
           Sony Pictures Imageworks, an award-winning visual effects and
           animation company, and Sony Pictures Animation, the distinguished
           Hollywood digital animation studio. Winners of the quarterly contest
           on Wet Paint, Crackle's edgy animation channel, will receive a cash
           prize and fly to Los Angeles to pitch Sony Pictures Animation
           executives for a chance to have their animated short theatrically
           released. Additionally, winners will be invited by Imageworks to
           attend Siggraph, the preeminent computer graphics conference, in
           August 2008.
       --  A Crackle Studios development deal and a much sought-after pitch
           meeting with Columbia Pictures will be awarded on Shorts, Crackle's
           Short Film channel. Quarterly contest winners will receive funding
           from Crackle Studios to develop and produce short form material for
           Crackle distribution. Winners will also fly to Los Angeles to pitch
           their feature film concepts to Columbia creative executives. A
           similar Crackle Studios development deal will also be awarded on
           Moving Targets, Crackle's upcoming sketch variety channel. Quarterly
           contest winners will receive Crackle funding to develop projects for
           Crackle distribution.  They will also meet with creative executives
           from Sony Pictures Television to pitch and present their television
           ideas.
       --  The best emerging stand-up comedians spotlighted each month on High
           Wire, Crackle's stand-up comedy channel, will win a chance to be
           center stage at the world famous IMPROV comedy clubs. They will have
           an opportunity to pitch their comedy shorts to creative executives
           of the IMPROV Comedy Lab (a new comedy centric broadband content
           studio) for final production and distribution.  The premier comedy
           club chain will offer one very hilarious contest winner a chance to
           fly either to LA, NY or Chicago to perform a 15 minute set on a hot
           ticket Thursday, Friday or Saturday night.
 
     --  Multiplatform Distribution & Global Syndication - Crackle offers a
         multi-platform, global syndication network across Sony devices, IPTV,
         leading social networks and viral Web distribution (e.g. MySpace,
         Facebook, hi5, AOL, Piczo, WordPress and many more).  For Sony
         consumers, Crackle now provides content across a growing list of Sony
         environments including the Sony PSP, Sony VAIO and Sony BRAVIA.
 
     --  Engaging Original Content - Crackle delivers audiences original and
         engaging entertainment from a unique mix of undiscovered talent and
         well-known stars.
     Crackle' s branded channels are seeded and given context by Crackle's
 original productions while the company's open studio model encourages all
 to submit their creative works to the channels. Here's a taste of Crackle's
 branded channels:
       --  Judgment Day, a collaborative reality show where people "judge"
           people they don't know and then interview them to find out if their
           assumptions were right.
       --  Scrambler, a video music magazine with an indie rock focus.
       --  High Wire, a virtual stage for stand-up comedy from nationally
           touring comics to amateur impersonations.
       --  Wet Paint, short-form edgy animation.
       --  Firehouse, sponsored by Rescue Me, Firehouse features real stories
           from real firefighters
       --  Moving Targets, a sketch variety channel coming soon to Crackle.
     Crackle has secured the exclusive, worldwide distribution rights to Mr.
 Deity, the brilliant, biting original comedy from writer/director Brian
 Dalton. Saturday Night Live alumna Julia Sweeney has dubbed it "Hilarious!
 I laughed really, really hard." The 10 episodes currently on the site have
 received over 5.7 million views since March 2007. As a result of the
 overwhelming viewer response, Crackle has committed to an additional 10
 episodes for Season Two which will premiere in Moving Targets, Crackle's
 upcoming sketch variety channel.
     --  Unique Editorial Perspective - Crackle's new entertainment model
         includes an editorial perspective that combines the diverse voice of
         its audience, cultural tastemakers, and third-party partners who work
         in concert to spotlight and surface the most riveting videos.
         Crackle's weekly People's Choice Awards give the audience a say in
         what is featured too.
 
     --  One-of-a-Kind User Experience - With Crackle, audiences will view
         videos in widescreen, 16x9 format, and have continuous viewing
         capability even while surfing through different channels on the site.
         The first major site to offer this seamless, dynamic stream of videos,
         Crackle audiences will no longer have to suffer through interruptions
         while browsing and discovering new videos.
 
     --  Branded Environments for Advertisers - Crackle offers powerful brand
         building opportunities for advertising partners.  In the coming
         months, Crackle's premium channels will be paired with advertising
         sponsors as well as distinctive 'skins' to create unique branded
         environments that support the advertiser and genre specific videos.
         Advertisements will appear on each channel's homepage, in addition to
         airing within the video player, creating a seamless branded
         environment within the network.
 
       --  An example of Crackle's innovative sponsorship opportunities
           includes Sony Electronics presenting sponsorship of all high
           definition viewing on Crackle, as well as providing a High
           Definition Headquarters with tips for producing, editing and viewing
           in high definition.
     About Crackle
     Crackle, Inc., a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company formerly known as
 Grouper Networks, Inc., is a streaming entertainment network dedicated to
 the discovery and development of pioneering video creators across a diverse
 range of genres. Crackle delivers programmed and customized video streams
 to a global audience via a multi-platform, syndication network that
 includes Sony devices, IPTV, leading social networks and one-click viral
 Web distribution. Crackle launches the most innovative creators with
 on-going collaboration with Sony Pictures Entertainment and other leading
 fame partners. Visit Crackle's new site at www.crackle.com.
     About Sony Pictures Entertainment
     Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation
 of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's
 global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution;
 television production and distribution; digital content creation and
 distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition
 and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new
 entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of
 filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be
 found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com.
 
 

SOURCE Crackle, Inc.

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