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Crackle’s New Boss, Chicken Soup For The Soul Entertainment, Sees Sony Deal As Just The Beginning

June 18, 2019 / Dade Hayes

Disruption in the entertainment business can sometimes come in unlikely forms. Witness Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, whose earnest name and humble corporate headquarters in Cos Cob, CT, belie its aggressive acquisition drive and canny knack for outmaneuvering larger rivals. The company’s Brooklyn-born CEO, Bill Rouhana, is a longtime media industry veteran who founded and ran Winstar Communications in the 1990s after a successful run as an entertainment lawyer specializing in film finance. In 2008, he bought Chicken Soup for the Soul, known for its eponymous, mega-selling line of books. A few years later, he expanded its operations into video-on-demand and TV programming. As he looked to feed the entertainment pipeline, Rouhana took the company public on the Nasdaq in 2017 and then engineered the acquisitions of Screen Media, Ashton Kutcher’s APlus.com and a controlling stake in Sony Crackle. The Crackle deal, which closed May 14, rebranded the free, ad-supported...