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Chicken Soup For The Soul CEO Upbeat On Movie Releases, FAST Channels As Redbox, Crackle Parent Sees Steeper Q1 Loss

Chicken Soup For The Soul, owner of Redbox, Crackle and Screenvision and the self-described largest purveyor of content to” value-conscious consumers,” saw sales soar to $110 million in the first quarter from $29 million. TVOD revenue is picking up, CEO Bill Rouhana told Wall Streeters, a precursor to a run on Redbox movie kiosks given the improved Hollywood pipeline.

The company has a rocky start to 2023. It announced its fourth-quarter and full-year numbers March 31, just six weeks ago, to coincide with a capital raise aimed at seeing it through a challenging time. But now “the movies are here,” Rouhana said on a call after earnings. He said 27 major theatrical  releases will cycle through between May and July — “exactly what we were looking for since we took over Redbox.”

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Chicken Soup acquired Redbox in a $375 million-deal in August of 2022.

Quarterly losses ballooned to $58 million from $14 million on higher costs. Rouhana noted the numbers were in line with management’s guidance range. But the shares — which rose 14% during Monday’s session — retreated in after hours following the numbers, falling 10%. Shares are changing hands at $1.42, compared with a 52-week high of just under $16.

The company announced a new deal today with AMC Networks to add a dozen FAST (free ad-supported television) channels, including The Walking Dead Universe, the sketch comedy series Portlandia, and sports fan-focused MSG SportsZone. It said the Redbox Free Live TV service will soon surpass 180 FAST channels and 200 by early summer.

Newly formed Crackle Connex, the company’s ad sales division, presented at the advertising NewFronts in NYC last month.

“The media landscape continues to shift in a way that pushes more people to free ad-supported streaming,” Rouhana said. “Studios are simultaneously removing content and raising prices on subscription services, forcing consumers to pay more for less.”

Chicken Soup also announced a pact with Rome-based entertainment and social media platform TaTaTu.

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