May 11, 2022
Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s acquisition of Redbox Entertainment finds an established ad-supported streaming service, Crackle Plus, joining forces with Redbox TV, the venerable DVD kiosk rental brand’s upstart streaming video app.
Chicken Soup in 2019 acquired majority ownership in the erstwhile Sony Crackle streaming service from Sony Pictures Television. The company then bought out Sony’s remaining stake in 2020. As of January 2022, Crackle had about 40 million monthly active users.
Last July, Redbox TV reportedly had about 1 million monthly users since its 2020 launch, while the app has been downloaded more than 43 million times.
With Chicken Soup assuming the combined companies’ Wall Street name and ticker presence, Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, believes the new owner will combine the companies’ digital properties under the Redbox banner, not Crackle.
Pachter speculates Redbox CEO Galen Smith will continue to run the company’s legacy kiosk business, which cites about 38,000 retail locations nationwide and 40 million loyalty customers.
“They probably want Galen to run the physical business, and they can use the [Redbox] digital channels to augment their other offerings,” Pachter said in an email. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they merge Crackle into Redbox and keep the Redbox name, but no idea right now what they are doing.”