Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (CSSE) has agreed to acquire all of Sonar Entertainment’s film and TV assets. With more than 1,000 titles in its catalogue, Sonor owns kids series including Utopia Falls (pictured) and Go Away Unicorn.
CSSE operates several VOD networks, including Crackle, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Kids, Truli, Pivotshare and FrightPix. It plans to use the Sonar acquisition to grow its AVOD offering, expand into original TV development, and improve margins through IP ownership. The company also intends to launch additional AVOD services and expand its TV production and distribution infrastructure, according to a release.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sonar will get a 5% ownership in the new AVOD network created using its library. And the company expects its assets to generate more than US$15 million in revenue in the first year after the deal closes.
Sonar first got into kids content following its acquisition of Tricon Films & Television in 2016. With development and production headed up by former Tricon exec Andrea Gorfolova, the LA-based indie studio launched a number of series, including Counterfeit Cat (which aired on Disney XD) and Go Away Unicorn. Sonar’s more recent production Utopia Falls was picked up by Canadian SVOD CBC Gem in 2019. It also produced an Alien Xmas Christmas special for Netflix, as well as The Mysterious Benedict Society for Disney+.
On the collaboration front, Sonar has partnered with Aussie prodco Like a Photon Creative on animated series Bear & Salmon, as well as with Corus, YTV and The Jim Henson Company on In-Betweeners. It’s unclear what will happen to these development projects under CSSE’s ownership.
Former Sonar Entertainment kids content heads Gorfolova and Ashley Rite have both left the company. Gorfolova joined BeCollectiveMedia in January as president, and Rite is serving as content director and kids vertical head for OTT, linear and affiliates at Dubai-based media company OSN. Sonar declined to comment on how many other staff members have been affected by the acquisition.