Scannell will assume the CEO position immediately, based at Mitu’s headquarters in downtown L.A. Co-founder Roy Burstin, who had been CEO since the company was founded in 2012, has resigned. Beatriz Acevedo, co-founder and president, remains Mitu and will take on an expanded role to lead all content production, talent development and social-media efforts.
Scannell grew up in a Latino household, as the son of a Puerto Rican mother. “Mitu’s promise speaks to me professionally and personally,” he said. “This is a market that matters, and a market that’s been underserved by traditional media.”
He had already been doing consulting work for Mitu — a growing powerhouse in original digital programming for Hispanic audiences — for more than a year, and in the spring of 2017 joined the board. (Scannell is not an investor in the company.) Scannell said he met Acevdeo at an industry conference about a year ago, and said, “She dropped the mic the best — she was passionate and really knows the community.”
As for what his first steps will be as CEO, Scannell said, “I have to get in there and know the company better. I do think the opportunity here is to blossom the brand.” Future business expansion for Mitu, he said could include television, events, licensing, and eventually movies.
“I’m a big fan of Def Jam — that was real and authentic, anchored in the African-American community,” Scannell added. “Nobody has filled that space in the Latino market.”
Mark Suster, managing partner of Upfront Ventures — Mitu’s largest shareholder — said Scannell’s hiring as CEO is exactly the same thing that happened at Maker Studios, another Upfront investment that Disney ultimately acquired for $675 million. In 2012, Suster invited former Endemol chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz to join Maker’s board; Kreiz took over the CEO job a year later.
For Mitu, as with Maker, “We realized it was important to have someone with traditional media experience to run the company,” Suster said.
Scannell spent 10 years at Nickelodeon, overseeing the launch of iconic properties including “Dora the Explorer,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Rugrats.” In addition, while at Viacom he was vice chairman of MTV Networks, overseeing adult brands Spike and TV Land, among other businesses.
After leaving Nick in 2006, Scannell was the founding CEO of online-video network Next New Networks, teaming with independent creators to produce and package original content. YouTube acquired Next New Networks in 2011. Scannell subsequently joined BBC Worldwide as president of North America, where he oversaw a portfolio that included the flagship cable channel BBC America, as well as sales of the BBC library and original shows via its L.A.-based original production group. He exited BBC Worldwide in 2015.
Acevedo said in a statement, “I have so much respect for Herb and for the legendary brands and franchises he built, so I am incredibly excited to now have the opportunity to partner and work alongside him and build our Mitú brand as the voice of this generation.”
Mitu currently generates about 650 million monthly views, reaching 100 million monthly unique viewers. The company has the only Latino-targeted channel on Snapchat’s Discover and recently sold Netflix the comedy special, “Chingo Bling: They Can’t Deport Us All.” Mitu has two seasons of reality series “Cholos Try” on Comcast Watchable and launched the shows “What’s Good in Your Hood” and “Mom’s Movie Review” for Facebook Watch. The company has also licensed original series to partners including Discovery Communications, Verizon’s Go90, NBC Universo and Spotify.
Suster declined to reveal privately held Mitu’s finances, except to say the company generates “tens of millions” of dollars in revenue. He added that Mitu is “not in the market for funding.” Mitu has raised $42 million from investors including Upfront Ventures, Comcast, WPP, Verizon Ventures, AMC Networks, Chernin Group and AwesomenessTV.
To Scannell, the market opportunity for Mitu is gigantic. In the U.S., there are 58 million Latinos, a group that overindexes on movie ticket sales, mobile phone usage, online video consumption, and social-media usage, and social media sharing.
Scannell is a board member of the Latino Donor Collaborative (LDC), a group of U.S. Latino business leaders and CEOs, whose mission is to redefine the Latino brand in media and marketing. He served as chairman of of NY Public Radio for four years, and is on the board of Ballet Hispánico, a leading Hispanic dance and cultural institution based in New York City.
Mitu, which has about 100 employees, is based in L.A. with offices in New York, Chicago, and Bogotá, Colombia. Scannell said he has an apartment in downtown Los Angeles near Mitu’s headquarters, while he still has an apartment in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood.