Mitú, an English-language digital channel that targets young Latinos, may turn some heads today with the announcement of its new CEO: It landed Herb Scannell, a well-known exec from his history as president of Nickelodeon, co-founder of Next New Networks, and president of BBC Worldwide North America.
He will work in Los Angeles, where Mitú is based. Scannell may be best-known for his decade at Nickelodeon, ending in 2006, where he oversaw the creation of franchises including Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and Rugrats.
“I’m in the media business, and you go where the audience is and the growth is,” Scannell tells me. “This is an audience that is only going to grow. And it’s underserved.”
The company has raised $42 million since 2012 from nine investors including Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, AMC Networks, Comcast’s AwesomenessTV, Upfront Ventures, and Verizon Wireless, according to Crunchbase data. Mitú says ad giant WPP also is an investor.
Scannell says that the previous CEO, Roy Burstin, resigned. “I was on the board, and the board asked me if I was interested in coming in.”
Co-Founder & President Beatriz Acevedo will remain in what the company calls “an expanded role to lead all content production, talent development and social impact efforts.”
Scannell is taking charge as Mitú looks to expand beyond its roots producing videos for online platforms including YouTube and Snapchat Discover.
Its projects include Netflix comedy special They Can’t Deport Us All; a series Cholos Try for Comcast Watchable; and What’s Good in Your Hood and Mom’s Movie Review for Facebook Watch.
“It’s got a unique voice; its voice is real and authentic,” Scannell says. It can “speak to a younger generation of Latinos and that’s what the opportunity is: to blossom this brand.”
He anticipates developing events, merchandise, and “eventually” movies.
Mitu has enough money for its current plans. “When we look to expand, we’ll raise more,” he says.
Scannell’s to-do list includes deepening connections with marketers and distributors. “Latinos are the secret sauce for reaching more millennials,” he says. “We need to get out and tell our story.”
He also wants to develop the company’s verticals which now include “Fierce” (which targets women) and “Bad Hombres” (for men) but could include others, he says.
Scannell says he feels a personal kinship with Mitu because “my mom is from Puerto Rico. I grew up in an acculturated Latino household….The nature of this audience has always been important to me.”
He’s on the board of the Latino Donor Collaborative, was chairman of NY Public Radio, and is on the board of New York’s Ballet Hispanico.