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Sony and Chicken Soup Announce Crackle Plus, an AVOD Aggregator

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The world of ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) services got a little more competitive today, as Crackle announced it's joining with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSS Entertainment) to create a new multi-AVOD service called Crackle Plus. The joint offering will stream Crackle, Popcornflix, Truli, Popcornflix Kids, Popcornflix Comedy, Frightpix, and Espanolflix.

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By joining together, AVOD services can offer advertisers a more attractive package, explained CSS Entertainment chairman and CEO Bill Rouhana to Variety, which broke the news. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense for there to be hundreds of AVOD networks,” he said.

Crackle had been the subject of rumors for months as insiders speculated that the company wanted out of its investment, but with the AVOD market heating up the company may have decided the timing wasn't right. Crackle Plus will be majority owned by CSS Entertainment, and Sony will have the ability to purchase Class A stock at various prices. Once the deal is complete, Sony Pictures Television chief digital officer Eric Berger will likely leave his post running Crackle.

Sony is making big contributions to Crackle Plus's success, providing not only the brand, user base, and movies and shows from the Sony Pictures library, but the back-end technology, as well. What it won't provide is cash, as this deal should mark an end to its financial investment. “We will run this as a profitable business,” Rouhana added.

Photo: Crackle streams the original stop-motion animation show SuperMansion, featuring the voice of Bryan Cranston.

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