Ex-Redbox Chief Galen Smith Leaving Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment

Galen Smith, the former Redbox CEO who engineered his company’s sale to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment last August, is resigning his post as executive vice chair of Chicken Soup, effective Jan. 2.

“Over the past 13-and-a-half years, Galen has helped turn Redbox into an incredible company with a talented team; I appreciate all he has done to lay the foundation for the future ahead in our journey to create the entertainment destination for value-conscious consumers,” said Bill Rouhana, CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. “On a personal note, I want to thank Galen for all he has done for our company and me personally. Over the past several years, as we talked about bringing the companies together, we built a friendship that I am sure will continue. I tried to get Galen to stay, but he is rightfully determined to run another company as CEO. I will miss having him part of our daily lives.”

“It’s been an amazing journey leading Redbox for so many years and I know the company is in great hands with Bill,” Smith said. “I’ll miss working with all my Redbox team members but know the company’s best days are ahead. I’m looking forward to taking some time off and then starting my next role.”  

Smith took over as CEO of Redbox in September 2016 and subsequently steered the company through a digital transformation, with digital movie sales and rentals and free live TV, both on demand and ad-supported. He also recast the company’s legacy disc-rental kiosks as a marketing tool to further facilitate the consumer transition from physical to digital.

“We have this incredible business with a very loyal customer base that absolutely loves movies,” Smith told Media Play News in July 2021. “They still love renting movies at our kiosks, but as we know consumers are shifting to digital, and we want to create an opportunity for them to make it easy by having all those opportunities in one place — free live TV, TVOD, and on demand — and then as part of this transition we’re going through we also will be adding subscription channels.”

In October 2021, Smith took Redbox public through a merger with Seaport Global Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company.

But when the pandemic hit, the lack of fresh new movies stymied Redbox’s growth plans and caused the company’s stock price to plummet, which ultimately led to its sale to Chicken Soup last August.

In a Dec. 9 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Chicken Soup for the Soul stated, “On Dec. 5, 2022, Galen Smith, who joined Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Inc. as our executive vice chairman following our acquisition of Redbox Entertainment Inc., delivered notice to our board of directors that he would be resigning that position effective Jan. 2, 2023, in order to pursue other leadership opportunities. Mr. Smith had served as chief executive officer of Redbox from 2016 until our acquisition of Redbox in August 2022. From 2013 to 2016, he served as chief financial officer of Outerwall, Redbox’s predecessor company and a leading provider of automated retail solutions, including Redbox, Coinstar and ecoATM. Mr. Smith was instrumental in evolving Redbox into an industry leading company with a talented management and operational team and has helped lay the foundation for our combined company’s continuing journey to become the foremost entertainment destination for value conscious consumers. Mr. Smith has helped lead our integration of Redbox since the acquisition and has ensured the establishment of a clear path forward to best serve our consumers. Through Jan. 2, 2023, Mr. Smith will work closely with our management and personnel to ensure a smooth transition of his responsibilities. Mr. Smith’s duties will be assumed by our chairman and chief executive officer, William J. Rouhana Jr. The terms of Mr. Smith’s departure will be governed by his existing employment agreement with our company.”

Redbox posted a net loss of $9.5 million on revenue of $31.6 million renting DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, and renting and selling digital movies, in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30). The revenue, which accounted for 34% of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s total $72.4 million in revenue, represents the partial period of the quarter after CSSE officially completed its $375 million acquisition of Redbox on Aug. 11.

The company operates about 34,000 kiosks nationwide and is looking to add 1,000 kiosks at a select national retailer in 2023. Disc rental revenue topped $24.8 million.