Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment touts record TVOD revenue week for Redbox

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSSE), owner of Redbox, said Monday that it recorded the largest revenue week in the company’s history for Redbox’s transactional video on-demand (TVOD) service, bolstered by new releases.

Specifically, TVOD was boosted by the premium video on-demand debut of hit animated film The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which overtook the earlier Premium Electronic Sell Through (PEST) launch record of Avatar: The Way of Water. Although the company touted a record week for TVOD, CSSE didn’t actually disclose how much revenue it generated and didn’t immediately share a figure when reached by Fierce.

CSSE earlier this month reported first quarter earnings where it recorded net revenue of $110 million, up from $29 million in Q1 2022. Video on-demand and streaming (which includes ad revenue across AVOD and streaming services as well as the direct-to-consumer TVOD business) accounted for 32% or around $35 million of revenue, while retail DVD rentals made up around 29% or $32 million. Net losses also rose in the quarter, reaching $58.6 million, compared with a net loss of $14.1 million in the year-ago period.

TVOD sales continue to increase as CSSE just disclosed its previous largest TVOD revenue week in April, which was up 14% year over year and up 13% week-over-week.

During quarterly earnings, CSSE CEO William J. Rouhana Jr. noted that starting in the second half of May, the company would have, on average, two or more new release titles a week for rent.

“As a result, we expect to see a meaningful increase in rentals at our Redbox kiosks,” Rouhana stated on May 15.

And on Monday the CEO in a statement said the latest record TVOD week illustrated pent-up demand for major film releases.

“It’s clear that movie fans have a voracious, pent-up demand for big new release movies, which is something we’ve long expected,” Rouhana said. “Starting this week, we will have major releases coming to our kiosks every week through the end of the year and launches of premium window titles through our Redbox TVOD service. More movies mean more rentals and more revenue.””

Among those slated for release on Redbox include MGM’s Creed III, Warner Bros.’ Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Marvel’s Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania debuting this week, followed by Paramount’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and Sony Pictures’ 65 next week.

Speaking to Fierce at the NAB show in Las Vegas in April, CSSE Chief Revenue Officer Philippe Guelton pointed to the return of a regular cadence of theatrical releases as helping its AVOD streaming businesses. In addition, DVD rentals and TVOD “are drivers for our audience on our O&O [owned and operated] apps,” he noted.  

“If people are coming to rent movies, they’re going to start watching more of our AVOD content, they’re going to discover we have a FAST platform,” Guelton said on the sidelines of NAB. “So this is a really great driver for almost the entire business.”

For more on that and its move into DOOH advertising, leveraging its network of DVD rental kiosks, read here.

In addition to its DVD rental kiosks through the Redbox acquisition, CSSE also has its namesake streaming service as well as Crackle and the Redbox Free Live TV FAST. The latter recently struck a deal with AMC Networks to add 12 free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels, including content from The Walking Dead Universe, Portlandia and MSG SportsZone. It’s also reached FAST content deals with Fremantle, Revry, and Love Stories TV.  The Redbox Live TV service has nearly 180 FAST channels and is expected to surpass 200 by early summer.

“Making our popular and high-quality content available to viewers whenever and wherever they might want to watch it on ad-supported platforms with our show and network brands clearly present is central to our distribution philosophy,” said Evan Adlman, EVP of commercial sales and revenue operations for AMC Networks, in a statement. “We are thrilled to expand the reach of our FAST channels and shows on Redbox Free Live TV through this exciting partnership.”