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Next TV Innovation Awards 2022: William J. Rouhana

Chicken Soup for the Soul CEO Bill Rouhana
(Image credit: Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment)

The Next TV Summit on September 13, part of the 10th annual NYC TV Week, will for the first time include the Next TV Innovation Awards, recognizing CEOs, technologists, strategists, creatives, marketers and other executives leading some of the most innovative companies in the video business. Each day from Sept. 2-13, our Next TV SmartBrief will profile one of our seven 2022 Innovation Awards honorees. (You can sign up for the SmartBrief here.) For more information about the summit and the award winners and other NYC TV Week events visit nyctvweek.com.

William J. Rouhana 
Chairman and CEO Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment 

The name Chicken Soup for the Soul conjures feel-good self-help books in big-box retailers. But increasingly, the name should evoke the fast-growing streaming-video company that William J. Rouhana also heads. 

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment just pulled off another notable deal, buying struggling Redbox Entertainment to fill in most of what Chicken Soup still needed to achieve Rouhana’s vision of an AVOD-centered powerhouse precisely positioned for the future of TV. The deal has one overlap: It’s adding yet another small AVOD channel. 

The company already has Crackle, Popcornflix and, yes, Chicken Soup for the Soul. The new channel will expand ad inventory. But the deal also brought 36,000 video-rental kiosks, a transactional VOD service and a loyalty program with 40 million entertainment-loving customers. 

It also swelled the company’s library to 51,000 assets. In a techmedia market full of giant fish devouring smaller ones, Rouhana finds ways to keep on building. 

“We wouldn’t be the first company to use a legacy business to finance a new-age business,” he said. “This gives us an underlying stability. I like the combination of underlying businesses, in this case, as a way to reduce risk.”

Previously announced Next TV Innovation Award honorees:

Todd Achilles
Co-founder, CEO and President, Evoca

Meredith Brace
Chief Marketing Officer, Samba TV

Matt Duarte 
VP of Strategy and Business Development YES Network 

Shalini Govil-Pai
GM and VP of TV Platforms, Google

Erick Opeka 
Chief Strategy Officer, Cinedigm

David Bloom of Words & Deeds Media is a Santa Monica, Calif.-based writer, podcaster, and consultant focused on the transformative collision of technology, media and entertainment. Bloom is a senior contributor to numerous publications, and producer/host of the Bloom in Tech podcast. He has taught digital media at USC School of Cinematic Arts, and guest lectures regularly at numerous other universities. Bloom formerly worked for Variety, Deadline (opens in new tab), Red Herring, and the Los Angeles Daily News, among other publications; was VP of corporate communications at MGM; and was associate dean and chief communications officer at the USC Marshall School of Business. Bloom graduated with honors from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.