Sony Pictures Entertainment's Crackle online video platform is expanding its service on several devices, the company announced today.
When users boot up their PlayStation 3 consoles, as well as Roku set-top boxes, they will find all of Crackle's programming available. The full content lineup is also coming to Sony's line of Blu-ray players and Bravia televisions. Previously, users had access only to a small portion of Crackle content on those devices. The news follows an announcement in November that Crackle would be available to Google TV owners through an optimized Web site.
Crackle, which was founded in 2007, is an ad-supported, free-to-play video service. Users will find a slew of movies and television shows available on the platform's Web site that can be viewed from the browser.
Although streaming services are often compared to Netflix, Crackle's option is perhaps most similar to Hulu. However, unlike Hulu, which has a solid selection of new content, Crackle users aren't able to watch most new shows in their entirety on the site. The most popular television shows on the service right now--"Married with Children" and "Who's the Boss?"--date back quite awhile. The available films on the service are also somewhat old, though there are big names, like "Spiderman 3" and "Ghostbusters."
By expanding its service, Sony will find itself up against serious competition. The leading streaming-video provider in the space, Netflix, is running on many of the devices Crackle is available on. Moreover, both Amazon's Instant Video platform, which launched last month, and Hulu Plus are competing for the same consumers' attention.
Sony Pictures Entertainment said that the average Crackle user spends 50 minutes per visit watching its content.
Even so, those users don't make up a large portion of the market. According to NPD, 61 percent of all movies downloaded or streamed over the Web were done so on Netflix's service. Comcast came in second with 8 percent market share.