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Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment expands into India for AVoD

US-based Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSSE) has expanded into India with the acquisition of Mumbai- and LA-based production company Locomotive Global.

William J Rouhana Jr

CSSE has taken a majority stake in Locomotive Global, which is behind series including the Indian local language remake of Ray Donovan for Netflix India. It also has an original series in development with Amazon Prime Video and is currently producing and developing a number of other original productions.

Locomotive Global is led by industry veterans Scott Anderson, former programming and acquisition strategy head for the Hallmark Channel, and Sunder Aaron, co-founder of QYOU Media India and former executive VP for Sony Pictures Television Networks India.

Following the deal, it will aim to provide productions for the various AVoD networks that CSSE operates as their international presence grows.

CSSE owns Crackle Plus, which runs a variety of ad-supported and subscription-based VoD networks including Crackle, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Kids, Truli, Pivotshare, Españolflix and FrightPix.

It recently partnered with Israeli broadcaster Keshet Broadcasting to launch a combined AVoD/SVoD platform showing content from its library.

CSSE 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, and Halcyon Television.

It is a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul, which publishes the book series of the same name and produces super-premium pet food under the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand name.

“Expanding into India has been a top priority for us in our international expansion strategy and we are excited to be entering the market with an ambitious company like Locomotive Global,” said William J Rouhana Jr, chairman and chief executive officer for CSSE.

“This acquisition allows us to utilise Locomotive’s revenue, cash flow and presence in India as a base for further expansion in the region. We look forward to backing Locomotive’s expansion plans as we continue the rollout of our international strategy.”

Anderson added: “India is arguably the largest and most accessible media market in the world right now. While we will continue to manage the business in India, as part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment family, we now have the resources to capitalise on our ambitions and expand more quickly in this market.

Aaron said: “There continues to be a major opportunity to produce high-quality content for platforms and services in India such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hotstar-Disney+ and others as they now compete for original movies and series so that they can better serve a rapidly growing OTT user base.

“Production costs are lower in India than in most Western markets, and we can use our development and production capabilities here to meet this growing demand for quality content.

“We also aim to provide high-quality productions for Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s AVoD networks at lower costs. The AVoD business is primed for growth in India as broadband connectivity, FAST channels and usage of connected televisions are expanding rapidly. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is the perfect company with which to partner so that we can seize hold of these burgeoning opportunities together.”


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