SPT Sells Crackle Stake to CSS Entertainment


Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has sold a majority stake in Crackle to Chicken Soup for the Soul (CSS) Entertainment, aligning with the company in a new joint venture, Crackle Plus.

CSS Entertainment will own the majority stake in Crackle Plus under the terms of the agreement. SPT’s contribution to the new joint venture includes Crackle’s U.S. assets and brand, the platform’s monthly active users and its ad rep business. SPT has agreed to a licensing agreement with the new joint venture for series and movies from the Sony Pictures Entertainment library. New Media Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Electronics, will provide the technology back-end services for Crackle Plus. Crackle’s original content library will continue to be owned by SPT and will be made available for licensing to the joint venture. CSS Entertainment will include in the joint venture its six AVOD businesses—Popcornflix, Truli, Popcornflix Kids, Popcornflix Comedy, Frightpix, and Espanolflix—and SVOD service Pivotshare.

In a statement, CSS Entertainment said Crackle Plus will have nearly 10 million monthly active users on its owned and operated networks, as well as millions of additional users from its ad rep business. The platforms will carry more than 38,500 programming hours via 90-plus content partnerships.

“Crackle is a valuable asset and we feel confident it will thrive and grow in this new environment with CSS Entertainment,” noted Mike Hopkins, chairman of SPT. “We were drawn to CSS Entertainment as our partner in this venture because of its aggressive, entrepreneurial approach. The CSS Entertainment team have the enthusiasm and strong business acumen to ensure Crackle Plus is poised to maximize the growing opportunities in the AVOD marketplace.”

“This transaction positions CSS Entertainment as a leader in the high-growth AVOD business,” said William J. Rouhana Jr., chairman and CEO of CSS Entertainment. “Creating a new platform that brings together CSS Entertainment’s VOD assets with SPT’s Crackle brand and AVOD assets establishes a compelling offering for viewers and advertisers. Consistent with our business plan, we plan to build Crackle Plus aggressively and profitably through organic growth and, potentially, acquisitions.”

“With the increased demand for free online video content as well as a need for advertisers to reach consumers, AVOD networks such as Crackle Plus are positioned for substantial growth,” Hopkins added.

SPT recently shuttered the Crackle service in Latin America and Canada.