Here comes a spin on “Saturday Night Live” pitched at digitally hip Hispanic audiences.
“SNL” producer Broadway Video, together with NBCUniversal Telemundo, has launched Más Mejor, a comedy studio and network aimed at discovering new Latino talent and reaching a youthful, multicultural audience.
Más Mejor will create short-form sketch comedy content, in both English and Spanish, distributed across YouTube and social channels as well top Hispanic ad-focused sites. The free, ad-supported content will be hosted at masmejor.com, and also be featured on Telemundo’s digital channels, on its weekly TV sketch comedy show “Ya Era Hora con Erika y Eduardo” and video-on-demand outlets. In addition, Más Mejor clips will be distributed via deals with Popsugar Latina and Hispanic digital media firm Batanga Media.
“Hispanic comedy is an underserved area, especially in digital,” said Peter Blacker (pictured above), EVP of Digital Media & Emerging Business, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. “There’s not a lot of content focused on this market.”
The initial Más Mejor talent lineup of digital influencers, stand-up and sketch comedians, and producers includes: “SNL” alums Fred Armisen and Horatio Sanz; Oscar Nuñez; Billy and Fernando Rovzar; Adriana Bello; Grace Parra; David Lopez; Dustin Ybarra; Carlos Alazraqui; and Melissa Villaseñor. In addition, Broadway Video and Telemundo plan to run a talent search, the winner of which will appear in a Más Mejor short airing on Telemundo properties.
“We really see the potential for social distribution with something like this,” said Rafael Urbina, chairman and CEO of Batanga Media, whose brands include Batanga.com, iMujer.com and Bolsademulher.com. “It’s something we feel our audience will respond to.”
Más Mejor’s launch sponsors include the Mexico Tourism Board. Down the line, Telemundo will seek to sell cross-platform advertising packages that span digital, TV and VOD, Blacker said.
Separately, NBCU has another digital-comedy iron in the fire: Last week it launched Seeso, a $4-per-month subscription VOD service stocked with “SNL” episodes, original series, stand-up performances and full seasons of previously aired TV comedies.
Why did the partners go the ad-supported route for Más Mejor? “The Hispanic comedy environment is far less mature” than mainstream comedy, Blacker said. “We are looking for new talent.”
In addition to branded and topical content — including “Trumpcestry.com,” lampooning Donald Trump’s disparaging comments about Hispanics and Muslims on the campaign trail — Más Mejor’s initial programming lineup will comprise several original series. Those include “Toy Collectors,” with Fred Armisen and Horatio Sanz reprising their “SNL” characters as Cuban toy collectors; “Si, Pipi, Si,” with Oscar Nuñez (“The Office,” “Benched”) as a famous South American performer who comes to America to strike it big; and “Soccer Dads,” starting David Lopez as an aspiring soccer coach with an overconfident personality; and “Tiny Lady, Big Opinions,” with Grace Parra (“The Nightly Show”) weighing in on topical issues.
Más Mejor has been in the works for more than a year. “We waited a long time to do this, so we wanted to do it right,” Blacker said. When the Telemundo team first met with Broadway Video on the concept, according to Blacker, “we had one of those meetings where we were finishing each other’s sentences.”
Added Britta von Schoeler, president of Broadway Video Enterprises, “It’s gratifying to see the past several years of relationship-building in Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market come to fruition with Más Mejor.”
The opportunity is ripe for Más Mejor because big media companies haven’t spent time or resources focusing on comedy content for Hispanics, Blacker said. “It’s a nuanced genre that requires a deep understanding of your audience,” he said. “Being funny is hard if you don’t know who you are trying to be funny for.”