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Sony Shuts Down Crackle Latin America Business

Sony Pictures Television is folding the Crackle Latin America subscription VOD service, which has 400,000 subscribers across 17 countries, after concluding the business isn’t economically viable.

Crackle Latin America first launched in April 2012 as an ad-supported streaming service — like the U.S. version of Crackle — before switching in 2016 to a subscription video-on-demand model, distributed through pay-TV partners. Crackle Latin America will shut down effective April 30, 2019, the result of Sony Pictures’ company-wide strategic review of its portfolio to prune underperforming divisions.

“After much consideration, we have decided that Crackle Latin America is not sustainable in the present highly competitive local environment,” Keith Le Goy, Sony Pictures’ president of worldwide TV distribution, wrote in a memo to staff Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by Variety.

With the shutdown, 17 employees will be let go. Crackle Latin America has been operated out of Miami with staff spread across offices in L.A., Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.

Sony’s Crackle Latin America was run separately from Crackle in the United States. Last summer, SPT revealed plans try to sell a stake in the Crackle U.S. business to a strategic partner, after years of mulling various options — including a possible sale — for the ad-supported VOD streaming network. Meanwhile, Sony shut down the Crackle Canada AVOD service in June 2018. SPT still operates a free, ad-supported Crackle service in Australia.

In the Latin American markets, the Crackle SVOD service carried Crackle original series produced out of the U.S. as well as in-language versions of Sony movies like “Hotel Transylvania” and Adam Sandler’s “Big Daddy,” “Grown Ups 2” and “Click.” Third-party content on the service has included “Captain America,” “Finding Nemo” and TV series “Scorpion.”

Some Crackle originals will find a home on Sony’s Canal Sony and AXN channels in the region, which Le Goy described in the memo as “strong brands achieving solid growth” that “among the top cable channels in Latin America.” Pricing for Crackle Latin America services was around $5 per month but varied across the region, with cable operators and other affiliates setting the retail price.

Read Le Goy’s full memo:

SPT team –

I wanted to make you all aware of an important upcoming change in our networks business in Latin America. As of April 30, we will discontinue the Crackle Latin America SVOD service.

As you know, an important part of our reimagine efforts has been a top-down review of our current businesses to determine their strength and growth potential in today’s marketplace. After much consideration, we have decided that Crackle Latin America is not sustainable in the present highly competitive local environment.

The decision to close Crackle Latin America is unrelated to the U.S. Crackle business, which is operated independently as an ad-supported AVOD service. We continue to explore potential strategic partnerships for Crackle in the U.S. and will share more information when possible.

While we are closing the Crackle Latin America service, OTT/direct-to-consumer remains an incredibly important area for our evolving industry and we will persist in exploring other opportunities in the space. We also remain focused on our existing core business and channels in the region, Canal Sony and AXN. They are strong brands achieving solid growth and are among the top cable channels in Latin America. We will continue to think big, innovate and invest in these assets and other new prospects that we believe have great potential for our business and our viewers.

We are proud of the accomplishments achieved in building Crackle Latin America into a service with more than 65 MSO affiliates across 17 countries and a loyal subscriber base from the ground up. I would like to personally thank our dedicated colleagues who have worked on Crackle Latin America over the past almost seven years. We greatly appreciate your hard work and contribution to SPT’s overall growth in the region.

– Keith

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