Jul 10, 2019
This episode features William J. Rouhana Jr., chairman and CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul, the publisher of the inspirational book series of that name.
In 2008, Bill, his wife Amy Newmark (Author, Editor-in-Chief, and Publisher), and Robert Jacobs, led a group of investors in their acquisition of Chicken Soup for the Soul from the company’s founders, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson. Canfield and Hanson, both motivational speakers, in 1993, had come up with the idea of packaging 101 inspirational stories into a single book.
The Chicken Soup for the Soul book concept grew dramatically. It’s a series that now includes more than 250 titles and has generated in excess of 100 million books sold, just in the United States and Canada.
When Bill and his group acquired the company, they recognized that Chicken Soup for the Soul had the potential to grow beyond the bookstore. They knew the brand had tremendous room for expansion. In 2015, for instance, the team created Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, a now public subsidiary of the flagship organization. The new division, which Bill oversees, is building online video-on-demand (VOD) networks that provide video content for all screens with Sony Pictures Entertainment, through its “Crackle Plus” joint venture. It also curates, produces and distributes long- and short-form video content that brings out the best of the human spirit and distributes online content through its wholly-owned subsidiary, A Plus, where its partnered with Ashton Kutcher, the actor and tech investor.
Life’s tough – you can be tougher, like Bill Rouhana, an inventive businessman who is dedicated to making the world a better place.