Sony’s free, ad-supported streaming service Crackle will rebrand as Sony Crackle this spring, the outlet announced at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour.
The new name will allow Crackle—make that Sony Crackle— “to lean into the power of what Sony stands for,” Eric Berger, GM for Crackle and evp and chief digital officer for Sony Pictures Television Networks, told reporters.
Berger elaborated on those remarks in an interview with Adweek, explaining that the name change “is a big push to be associated with the larger Sony brand on a company-wide basis. You see Sony being much more front and center in a lot of entertainment properties.” Columbia Pictures films, for example, now have a Sony logo in front of them.
Being called Sony Crackle “just makes sense. We’re part of that family, we’re part of the Sony Pictures Television Networks organization, and we just wanted to crystallize that,” said Berger.
The name change also reflects the message Crackle sent to advertisers and buyers during last April’s upfront, when Berger said that Crackle is now positioning itself to advertisers under the entire Sony umbrella, as it can sell ad space on Crackle properties and also across PlayStation devices.
Crackle has an average monthly U.S. audience of 18 million.
“From a sales perspective, we sell PlayStation as well, and a variety of other Sony properties. And it does make sense, as you put it all across,” said Berger, adding that Sony Crackle is the “next step” for the outlet’s clunky full moniker, which is Crackle: A Sony Network.
Berger said the streaming network’s content offerings won’t be tweaked as part of the name change, but some associated products will be refreshed. For starters, Berger is looking at the “Always On” feature on Crackle’s connected TV platforms, in which video begins playing as soon as the app is accessed. “We’re going to take the next step in what that experience is and what it means for consumers,” he said.
During the past two days, “we’ve really been closer and closer with other Sony divisions, by way of sales or brand association, or content. So it’s really just crystallizing that strategy for consumers,” said Berger of the name change, adding that the outlet is often referred to in the market as Sony Crackle already.
While there is no specific timetable for the transition to Sony Crackle, Berger said the changeover will be complete by this year’s upfront.
During his winter press tour appearance, Berger noted that Crackle, which is free, is an attractive option to consumers who are left with “sticker shock” by the price of all the Peak TV outlets, and their monthly subscription fees.
Last year, Berger told Adweek that Crackle would be able to thrive even after losing Jerry Seinfeld and its signature show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, to Netflix.
“Although we are incredibly grateful for our time working with Jerry and proud of the Emmy nominations the show has garnered, we have built up a slate of original series with top talent that we are incredibly proud of,” he told Adweek at the time. “We have a development slate that we feel can rival any ad-supported network.”
Crackle will premiere its new gang drama The Oath, executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and starring True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten, on March 8.