Redbox's new owner is the company that saved Sony's Crackle

Expect a revived approach to streaming video.

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BRAZIL - 2022/02/05: In this photo illustration the Redbox Automated Retail LLC logo seen displayed on a smartphone and on the background. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Redbox has tried to keep itself relevant over the years with on-demand streaming video and free live TV, but it's still best-known as the company pushing movie disc rentals at kiosks. It might soon have a better shot at shaking that reputation, however. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, the company that rebooted Sony's Crackle service, is acquiring Redbox in an all-stock deal. The move will help Chicken Soup build an ad-supported streaming service for "value-conscious customers" and "accelerate" Redbox's shift from physical to digital.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2022. Chicken Soup will own a 76.5 percent stake, while Redbox will own the rest. There weren't mentions of leadership changes, but Chicken Soup won't change its name as part of the purchase.

It may seem unusual to buy a company best known for supporting shrinking video formats. Chicken Soup stands to gain a lot, though. The new owner will have access to tens of millions of potential customers, including 40 million Redbox Perks members —even if only a fraction embrace streaming, that's still a large potential audience. Although we wouldn't expect it to challenge heavyweights like Amazon or Netflix, it might help Redbox and Chicken Soup compete with free-to-watch alternatives like Tubi or The Roku Channel.

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