The acquisition heat has kicked up again. Today, Participant Media has announced it has acquired SoulPancake, a social good video property founded in 2009 by actor-comedian Rainn Wilson. The news was announced by Wilson in a special video:
SoulPancake, which gained recognition for its breakout show “Kid President” and subsequent hit “The Science of Happiness”, has built its brand around video and creative that would inspire people to be do-gooders and to recognize those doing good. As with many of the MCN’s of its generation, SoulPancake operates a network of creators, supplemented with original video series. They reach over 1.7 million subscribers and have accumulated over 300 million video views, but many of their series have been picked up by television properties such as The CW, MTV, VH1, Freeform, OWN, and Discovery Family.
“SoulPancake truly aligns with Participant’s model of creating inspiring entertainment that compels global awareness and action,” said Participant CEO David Linde. “Rainn, Shabnam [Mogharabi, SoulPancake’s CEO], and their team have thrived by creating immensely popular, shareable, and optimistic properties that connect with a large audience, and together we look forward to integrating and expanding their digital video content into a global platform that is thematically and mission aligned and thus stronger and more successful together.”
The deal comes shortly after news was announced that Participant Media was shuttering its own social good cable network — Pivot. The company is still untangling the messiness around programming and rights for the shows that were attached to Pivot, according to one insider.
But for Participant, an Oscar-winning production company, bringing in a digital-first video company like SoulPancake will add distribution, monetization and windowing opportunities for their own IP. SoulPancake will also stand to gain from Participant’s long-standing network on the theatrical and linear side of the business. SoulPancake CEO Shabnam Mogharabi will assume the GM role for Participant, reporting to COO Sam Neswick.