Cos Cob, CT
Industry Experts to Drive Growth at the New VOD Joint Venture with Sony Pictures
Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (“CSS Entertainment”) (Nasdaq: CSSE), a growing media company building online video-on-demand (“VOD”) networks that provide video content for all screens, today announced the appointment of four industry leaders to CSS Entertainment’s recent VOD joint venture with Sony Pictures Television (SPT), Crackle Plus.
· Philippe Guelton has been named president of Crackle Plus and will also remain as executive vice president of CSS Entertainment and president of VOD networks.
· Darren Olive has been named executive vice president of advertising sales for Crackle Plus.
· Jason Schaeffer has been named senior vice president of business development, marketing and business intelligence for Crackle Plus.
· Tony Simon has been named senior vice president of content and operations for Crackle Plus.
“Crackle Plus represents an exciting new chapter for CSS Entertainment,” commented William J. Rouhana, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer. “We need a highly skilled and visionary team to navigate the coming months, and to create the best ad-supported video-on-demand platform possible. I am confident that Philippe Guelton is the best candidate to lead the new Crackle Plus team.” Mr. Guelton will continue to report to Elana Sofko, chief operating officer of CSS Entertainment.
“Darren Olive, Jason Schaeffer and Tony Simon will be enormous assets to Crackle Plus, as each brings decades of industry experience to the venture,” continued Rouhana. “We anticipate this team will quickly help accelerate the growth of the business.” Darren Olive, Jason Schaeffer and Tony Simon will report to Philippe Guelton.
As president of Crackle Plus, Philippe Guelton will lead the Crackle Plus team. He will oversee the merger of assets from CSS Entertainment and SPT into the new joint venture and lead its future growth.
Mr. Guelton joined CSS Entertainment as executive vice president and president of VOD networks in January 2019. Prior to that, he served as chief executive officer of SheKnows Media, a mission-driven digital media company with a reach of up to 70 million+ monthly unique visitors and over 300 million+ social media fans. The company was acquired by Penske Media Corporation in March 2018. Previously he served as president of Thrillist Media Group, was the executive vice president and chief operating officer at HFM US and acted as chief executive officer of Hachette Fujingaho in Japan.
“Since joining CSS Entertainment, Philippe has demonstrated his extensive media experience and business acumen,” said Elana Sofko. “His deep involvement in the creation of our new joint venture with SPT makes him the right leader for a successful launch and for the future growth of Crackle Plus.”
Advertising and Revenue Operations
As executive vice president of advertising, Darren Olive will develop and implement direct and programmatic sales strategy and lead revenue operations for Crackle Plus, driving revenues for the company’s own VOD platforms as well as for its publishing partners.
Mr. Olive moves over to Crackle Plus from SPT, where he was vice president of National Video Sales – representing leading ad-supported properties including AVOD network Sony Crackle, virtual MVPD “PlayStation Vue,” and leading streaming anime service Funimation. Prior to that, he was national vice president of digital and video advertising sales for the Oprah Winfrey Network and served in various sales leadership roles at Discovery Communications, Electronic Arts and Universal Music Group.
“Darren’s sales experience in the AVOD industry is second to none,” said Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus. “Given his significant experience at SPT, he brings invaluable insights that will help this joint venture thrive and grow.”
Business Development, Marketing and Business Intelligence
Jason Schaeffer will assume the role of senior vice president of business development, marketing and business intelligence to oversee all activities aimed at growing monetizable audiences for Crackle Plus. This includes leading new partnerships with third party VOD channels, supporting new channel acquisitions by Crackle Plus, marketing Crackle Plus content to new audiences, and expanding distribution platforms for existing owned and operated channels such as Crackle and Popcornflix.
Mr. Schaeffer joins Crackle Plus from SPT where he served as vice president of global revenue operations for Sony Crackle for the past six years. Prior to SPT, Jason worked at Disney Interactive and Dow Jones in business development roles. Mr. Schaeffer started his career at Merrill Lynch & Co. in their M&A department working on cross border advisory assignments in NYC and London.
“Jason’s proven record in building new businesses through strategic partnerships and his deep data focus make him the ideal candidate for this position. He has a complete understanding of the Crackle business and of its growth opportunities,” Mr. Guelton commented.
Content and Operations:
Tony Simon will lead the programming, content operations and product management of Crackle Plus AVOD platforms. Mr. Simon comes from SPT which he joined in 2013 and was most recently vice president of global network and content operations for Sony Crackle. Previously, Mr. Simon spent more than 15 years at Disney ABC Networks, managing content operations for five linear networks and overseeing distribution for 26 VOD and digital partners.
“Tony’s extensive knowledge of Crackle’s content workflows from content acquisition to consumer engagement is crucial in his new role,” said Mr. Guelton. “He lives and breathes every aspect of our operations and is constantly focused on building a richer experience for the consumer.”
ABOUT CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ENTERTAINMENT
Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nadsaq: CSSE) is a growing media company building and acquiring streaming video-on-demand networks (VOD) that provide content for all screens. The company has a majority stake in Crackle Plus, which has the right to own and operate a variety of ad-supported and subscription-based VOD networks including Crackle, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Kids, Truli, Pivotshare, Españolflix and FrightPix. The company also acquires and distributes video content through its Screen Media subsidiary and produces long and short-form content through its Chicken Soup for the Soul Originals division and through APlus.com. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC, which publishes the famous book series and produces super-premium pet food under the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand name.
ABOUT CRACKLE PLUS
Crackle Plus is a video-on-demand (VOD) joint venture formed by Sony Pictures Television and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE). The company’s consumer facing ad-supported VOD (AVOD) channels include Crackle (US and Canada), Popcornflix, Popcornflix Kids, Truli, Popcornflix Comedy, Frightpix, and Espanolflix. It also owns subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platform Pivotshare. Crackle Plus reaches a combined audience of nearly 10 million monthly active users on its owned and operated networks, as well as millions of additional users from its VOD partners, positioning it as one of the largest AVOD offerings in the U.S. Its content library includes over 38,000 hours of programming.