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Sony Ready To "Crackle" The Web

The entertainment divisions of every media company will suffer from the writers' strike. But media giant Sony is rather well positioned because it's so diversified.

I chatted about the strike with Sony CEO Howard Stringer last week and he said if there's a void of new content on TV, "The internet is an obvious place to look, if you're not getting new programming you'll go to the internet for old programming, if the catalog of old programming is ubiquitous you wander off and you might find something else, you might find a video game which might be fine for us."

Sony's got its PlayStation 3 video game business. And when bored TV viewers hunt around online they'll find a solution in Crackle, Sony's online video company that just today announced big advertising deals with Pepsi, Honda,Epson, Sony Electronics and others. Crackle distributes video (along with those ads) on its own site and through a global network including AOL, Facebook, Myspace, and others--just this week it signed on social network Bebo, which is #3 in the U.S. and #1 in the UK.

Why are these advertisers flocking to Crackle? They love the fact that it doesn't post user generated content like YouTube, which can be risky or inappropriate for a brand. This stuff is all professionally (or semi-professionally) generated content designed just for the web, and edited. And while a lot of TV shows are repurposed for the web, this content is short, and designed for web viewing.

And since everything these days comes back to the strike--if there's no new content--sites that rely on TV shows--like Hulu.com--won't have that new content to attract viewers. And sites like Crackle will be sitting pretty. Worried that you've never heard of Crackle? Well, the players are embedded in sites around the web, so you may have watched a Crackle video without knowing it!

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.