Sony’s streaming video portal Crackle has popped up this week with the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android App Market’s first subscription TV and video app. The Crackle app comes in a free version for clips and a $4.99 premium one for access to full-length films from Columbia Pictures, Tri-Star, Screen Gems and, not surprisingly, Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures Classics.
Plans to launch an Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPhone version are still in the works, according to the LAT, which first reported on the app. At the moment, Netflix’s subscription app appears to be the dominant video streaming service on Apple, though Hulu Plus and many other options are available as well.
Android users have dozens of streaming video providers to choose from as well. For one, there’s Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI), but only a small number of smartphones feature it. Slingbox is only available to consumers who have the device on their TVs at home. As for YouTube, it also has movie rentals, but the selection of titles remain fairly slim.
Those limited services present Crackle with an opportunity. Sony’s video site hasn’t captured users’ attention in quite the same way Hulu has, despite the big head start it had. It began life as Grouper in 2004 and was rechristened as Crackle a year after Sony paid $65 million for it in 2006.
Sony has continued to back the video streaming the site and has been looking for ways to expand its presence, such as through its Playstation Network, hoping that the combination online video and gaming will give Crackle a necessary lift it’s been waiting for.