Production Activities Consolidated Under David Ellender, Former Fremantle CEO, to Accelerate Domestic and International Growth
Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE), one of the largest operators of streaming advertising-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) networks, announced today the formation of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Television Group lead by EVP, David Ellender, former CEO of Fremantle Media Ent.
The Chicken Soup for the Soul Television Group will consist of four production labels including Landmark Studio Group (LSG), the recently acquired Locomotive Global, Chicken Soup for the Soul Studios and the newly formed Halcyon Studios, of which Ellender is Chief Executive Officer and which was formed post the acquisition of the Sonar Entertainment development and production assets in June 2021.
David Ellender was CEO of Sonar Entertainment, the studio that developed, produced, and co-produced a range of TV series including The Son starring with Pierce Brosnan for AMC, Das Boot for Sky Europe, Mr. Mercedes for The Audience Network and Alien Xmas for Netflix. Prior to Sonar, Mr. Ellender was CEO of Fremantle Media Ent (FME) and served on the board of directors of the Fremantle Media Group. During his tenure he helped build Fremantle’s global footprint to become one of the leading independent TV companies in the world. Earlier in his career he held senior positions as managing director Europe of Universal Studios Television and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE) where he served as global president of TV and had a seat on the PFE Board.
“To execute on Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s strategy in building the leading independent AVOD streaming service, we will accelerate growth in four key directions,” said David Ellender. “These include expanding our original TV content development pipeline; improving margins by increasing our IP rights ownership; facilitating the launch of additional networks; and providing a faster path to growing international TV production and distribution activities.”
“This is a big event for our company and the pursuit of our vision of building the best AVOD,” said Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment chairman and CEO William J. Rouhana Jr. “We have steadily assembled the pieces to build a first-class television production operation that can further grow our roster of AVODs and capitalize on the global appeal of our brand. I am excited to see what David and his team have in store as we unleash the full potential of our production and distribution capabilities.”
Chicken Soup for the Soul Television Group Entities:
· Halcyon Studios is designed to develop, finance, distribute, co-produce and produce high-end scripted content in the U.S. and Internationally, such as Hunters for Amazon Prime and Mysterious Benedict Society for Disney+. Halcyon Studios is not only focusing on developing and producing content in the U.S., but is also forging partnerships with creators and platforms in Europe and currently has projects in the UK, France, and Norway with financing that is being backed by the company.
Matt Loze, Halcyon Studios president of scripted entertainment added, “Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment allows us the freedom to partner across the media landscape, as well as to design content for our AVOD network Crackle Plus. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s tagline, ‘Changing the world one story at a time’ is our true North as we set sail with a ship full of new and re-imagined content.”
· Landmark Studio Group, led by David Ozer, CEO, focuses on financing & production of scripted TV series with moderate budgets, as well as movies such as Willy’s Wonderland starring Nicolas Cage and Trigger Point with Barry Pepper.
· Locomotive Global Inc., a production company based in India, is led by industry veterans Scott Anderson, and Sunder Aaron. Locomotive Global is currently producing and developing a number of original productions including an original series in development with Amazon Prime Video, as well as Indian local language remakes of well-known series including Ray Donovan for Netflix India.
· Chicken Soup for the Soul Studios rounds out the production portfolio, focusing on providing high-quality video content. It has built a deep pipeline of unique, diverse and inspiring new content to entertain and empower its viewers, including the hit series Going From Broke. Chicken Soup for the Soul Studios will endeavor to produce lifestyle entertainment (embracing food, house, garden, pets, wellbeing, self-improvement, romance, beauty and fashion) across a range of unscripted and scripted formats to the Crackle Plus networks.
The Chicken Soup for the Soul Television Group as a whole plans to create compelling shows that bring out the best of the human spirit through positive storytelling—changing the world one story at a time.
ABOUT CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ENTERTAINMENT
Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) operates streaming video-on-demand networks (VOD). The company owns Crackle Plus, which owns and operates 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 original long and short-form content through Landmark Studio Group, Chicken Soup for the Soul Unscripted, APlus.com and Halcyon Television. 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.
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified in this press release, and on the current expectations of management and are not predictions of actual performance. Such assumptions involve a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to our core strategy, operating income and margin, seasonality, liquidity, including cash flows from operations, available funds, and access to financing sources, free cash flows, revenues, net income, profitability, stock price volatility, future regulatory changes, price changes, the ability of the Company’s content offerings to achieve market acceptance, the Company’s success in retaining or recruiting officers, key employees, or directors, the ability to protect intellectual property, the ability to complete strategic acquisitions, the ability to manage growth and integrate acquired operations, the ability to pay dividends, regulatory or operational risks, and general market conditions impacting demand for the Company’s services. For a more complete description of these and other risks and uncertainties, please refer the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, filed with the SEC on March 31, 2021, and for further information regarding our recent acquisition of the Sonar library and related assets, please see our Current Reports on Form 8-K, as amended, filed with the SEC on May 27, 2021 and July 1, 2021. If any of these risks materialize or our assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.