Both Participant Media and SoulPancake strive to make the world a better place, one project at a time. For Participant, that mission is carried out through socially-conscious films like The Help, An Inconvenient Truth, and recent Best Picture winner Spotlight. SoulPancake opts to spread its own brand of good by sharing smart, charming, and big-hearted series like Kid President, through which it can ponder “life’s big questions.” The acquisition will bring these two companies together, while allowing SoulPancake to maintain several measures of independence. The L.A.-based company, originally founded by actor Rainn Wilson, will maintain its current office as well as its entire executive team.
Participant and SoulPancake initially met to discuss a potential investment by the former company in the latter, but as the talks progressed, the two companies decided an acquisition was the right course of action. “Our conversations were so aligned and our interests were so matched,” SoulPancake CEO Shabnam Mogharabi told Tubefilter. Participant COO Sam Neswick noted that SoulPancake met his company’s three criteria for a potential acquisition thanks to its potential, the value it can add to the Participant brand, and the alignment of the two companies’ respective missions. “It’s rare we find that perfect fit across all three considerations,” Neswick told Tubefilter. “It just became apparent that we’re really big fans of their business.”
The two companies believe the acquisition will be mutually beneficial because it will allow SoulPancake to up its presence in the traditional media space Participant knows so well while giving Participant a platform through which it can expand into the digital world. Mogharabi called digital the “bread and butter” of the SoulPancake business, but also expressed her excitement about joining with a partner “that knows the inside of the [traditional media] business.” SoulPancake’s TV ventured have included a Kid President show on the Hub Network and a CW run for its inspiring series My Last Days.
Neswick believes SoulPancake can continue to create value both for itself and for Participant’s online brand. “With digital short-form video, you have direct-to-consumer vehicle,” he told Tubefilter. The goal, he said, is to “leverage what SoulPancake knows how to do, which is get content in front of millions of people, and what Participant does, which is put meaningful content in front of fans. I think we’ll be leveraging both of those names in the marketplace for the benefit of the company.”
The only question left is how SoulPancake’s fans — it has more than 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube alone — will react to the acquisition, but Mogharabi isn’t worried. “We want our fans to come along with us on this next chapter for SoulPancake,” she said. “If it weren’t Participant, this might be a surprising thing for the fans to hear, but if they dig into Participant Media and what they stand for, I think they’ll see this makes so much sense.”