Home Digital TV and Video Crackle Plus Renews Measurement Partnership With iSpot, Plus A Programmatic Add-On

Crackle Plus Renews Measurement Partnership With iSpot, Plus A Programmatic Add-On

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We might be in the “baby boom” of ad-supported streaming services.

Fun fact: Did you know Chicken Soup for the Soul pivoted out of books and now earns its keep primarily from manufacturing food, pet food and … streaming video?

That also means Chicken Soup is partaking in the grail quest for cross-device CTV measurement solutions.

Crackle Plus, formerly just Crackle, has been working with iSpot on measurement services since Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment acquired the streamer from Sony in 2019. On Wednesday, Crackle announced a three-year extension of that partnership.

“ISpot effectively helps us measure the audience we’re reaching and quantify incremental reach and efficiency to [our] brand advertisers,” said Darren Olive, EVP of national advertising sales and strategy at Crackle Plus. “We hope our relationship with iSpot will [make us] ready for that ‘next step’ as the media marketplace looks at alternate currencies.”

By “next step,” Olive means upping the ante on measurement with actionable strategies to increase growth and efficiency. For one, Crackle Plus is making the case more for its incremental reach compared to the advertisers’ overall media mix. (In other words, the AVOD app says its audience has a higher rate of net new viewers, rather than individuals retargeted in different walled gardens.)

Crackle Plus will also increase its rate of impressions transacted through programmatic direct deals.

Soup to nuts

One of the common stated purposes of alternate measurement solutions is to accurately identify audiences across channels so viewers aren’t bombarded with the same ads over and over again.

According to Olive, that means approaching incremental reach with more nuance than linear-to-streaming metrics, and vice versa.

Two years ago, incremental reach was viewed entirely in the lens of linear TV vs. streaming, he said. Advertisers wanted their Crackle Plus buys to reach different viewers than their linear buys – narrowly targeting younger audiences who’d cut the cable cord.

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But there isn’t necessarily much overlap between Crackle Plus streamers and audiences on other AVOD platforms or broadcast TV, he said.

Crackle Plus consists of seven total AVOD and FAST channels, including Popcornflix, which is a library of mostly action-oriented content intended for younger male demos, and the FAST channel Chicken Soup for the Soul with “long-form, uplifting stories in a brand-safe environment,” Olive said.

The company can tout unique and niche audiences, but it had to get creative about demonstrating incremental advertiser reach beyond its own distribution footprint.

Crackle Plus’s priority now is to drive incremental reach to advertisers’ other media channels, Olive said. And the results are promising, he added, after running the first 75 campaigns served with this new metric.

“We’ve seen we’re able to efficiently drive incremental reach across [advertisers’] other media mixes without having to run so many ads over and over again to continue [pushing] that reach curve up,” Olive said. “If we can deliver that reach curve on an upward trajectory [while] still frequency capping – that’s what brands really want.”

Cross-platform competition for audiences isn’t much of a concern because of Crackle Plus’s niche audience. But when it comes to competing for ad dollars, this approach to incremental reach shows brands “their money is working harder for them,” Olive added. “[And] I have [both] a direct sales team and a programmatic sales team that are out talking to brands.”

Programmatic plays

Crackle Plus also has its eyes on programmatic.

Until now, iSpot measurement and transactions have been supported only through direct insertion orders. But with the partnership renewal, Crackle Plus is enabling iSpot measurement across its programmatic campaigns, too.

The measurement and incremental reach offerings are “now extending to a lot of our direct brand campaigns, [which] are now running programmatic to deliver their ads in real time,” Olive said. “[Diving] deeper into incrementality and efficiency with this evolution of our relationship with iSpot is [something] we haven’t been able to do in the past.”

Compared with other DSP, SSP and private marketplace (PMP) pipes, programmatic direct deals work best for Crackle Plus because they allow for close, advisory account management without paring back automation.

It also gives brands and agencies the transparency and control they’re looking for within their media buys.

“We’re able to work at a campaign-by-campaign level to tell [brands] where their ads ran and when, down to the show [or title] level,” Olive said. “Programmatic enablement allows the flexibility to shift on the fly and move money around as advertisers need to collectively across all their different media buys they’re able to deliver programmatically.”

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