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Sony Corp. Wants to Know: Will You Watch Movies With Ads?

Soon you'll be able to stream more movies. Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE  ) has struck a deal to bring more than 140 Universal Pictures movies to its Crackle streaming service. There's just one catch: You'll have to bear with ads if you want to watch. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the implications in the following video.

Crackle is to Sony what Hulu is to Walt Disney, Twenty-First Century Fox, and Comcast. The difference? Whereas Hulu tends to focus on TV shows, Crackle tends to broadcast Sony Pictures movies and internally produced originals, such as Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

With the NBCUniversal deal, Crackle expands its streaming footprint. But the expansion isn't without risk, Tim says. Crackle is entirely free and ad-supported, which means if you tune in to watch the Miami Vice or King Kong reboots, or Academy Award-winning biopic Ray, you'll need to bear with ads -- just as you would watching on broadcast TV.

Tim doesn't believe that's a workable strategy. Why? Viewers have become accustomed to uninterrupted, ad-free viewing of long-form streamed content. Netflix and similar pay-TV services have made sure of that.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you expect the NBCUniversal deal to help Crackle and Sony? Please watch the video to get the full story, and then leave a comment to let us know what you think, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Sony stock at current prices.

Will you be among the few to profit when Hollywood's business model falls apart?
Sony's ongoing experiment with Crackle is emblematic of a wider shift in the entertainment business, and three companies you can invest in right now are poised to claim the lion's share of the $2.2 trillion that's up for grabs. Are you bold enough to bet on them? Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2014, at 7:51 PM, LazyCapitalist wrote:

    Since people watch movies on non-premium cable channels (like FX and what have you) with ads, I don't see they wouldn't also watch movies on non-premium streaming services with ads.

    Never underestimate the power of free. People have (and will continue to) put up with a lot worse to get something for free.

    Crackle can be the FX of the internet, while Netflix can be the HBO (or HBO Go can be the HBO of the internet, whichever).

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2014, at 11:38 PM, GrimOne wrote:

    Considering the amount of people who "share" media WITHOUT ads and the amount of Ad FREE and cost FREE streaming sites, why would anybody want to have Ads interrupting their shows?? Thats what over the air TV is for and you get it for free with a good antenna. It still amazes me how many people actually waste money on streaming services like netflix and hulu. The content they provide is outdated even though they say its a "new release" what a joke.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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