Sony Pictures Television has sold majority stakes in its online video business Crackle to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, announced the companies on Thursday.
A new joint venture Crackle Plus will be formed to be operated by both the companies jointly which will house the Sony’s ad-supported streaming service Crackle whereas CSS Entertainment will put its share by bringing six of its owned-and-operated ad-supported streaming channels and adjacent online video businesses to the Crackle Plus, which includes Espanolflix, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Comedy, Popcornflix Kids, Frightpix and Truli as well as its subscription service Pivotshare.
Though any further financial details of the deal were not disclosed by the companies but CSS Entertainment, as part of the deal, will be majority owner of the new company whereas Sony will get 4 million five-year warrants to purchase, at various price points, Class A common stock of CSS Entertainment.
Sony Pictures Television chief digital officer and GN of Crackle, Eric Berger is also likely to be step down once the deal closes.
Crackle had been acquired by Sony in 2006 and was also one of the older free, ad-supported services in the streaming market. And after transforming into the Crackle Plus and having nearly 10 million of monthly active users and 26 million of registered users, it will become one of the largest ad-supported video-on-demand platforms in the United States, as claiming both the companies.
Crackle Plus will also be enjoying an access to the more than 90 content partnerships of both companies, over 38,000 combined programming hours and more than 100 networks, while entering into a licensing agreement with Sony for rights of its library for popular movies and TV series.
Sony’s decision came after its last year announcement of seeking new strategic partnership to run Crackle and amid growing competition for the larger market share as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and recently Apple are planning to invest billions of dollars in original content.