At our third #StraightTalk event, we welcomed Evan Minskoff, Head of Marketing at Tumblr and Bryan Tucker, Co-Founder of The Kicker and Head Writer at Saturday Night Live to discuss content and culture with CBX’s CMO, Dustin Longstreth. Before we kicked off the evening, we grabbed each of them for a quick-fire “Q&A With,” which we’ll be publishing separately.
First up is Bryan Tucker, whose background reads like comedy gold: stand-up comedian and sketch actor, comedy writer for TV sketch shows including The Chris Rick Show and Chapelle’s Show. He is a nine-time Emmy nominee and the recipient of a Peabody Award and three Writers Guild Awards. Currently, when he’s not writing skits for Saturday Night Live, he is Editor in Chief of the sports comedy content website, The Kicker. In short, the guy knows content.
With Bryan, we were keen to get his unique point of view on the power and value of content in today’s information-rich and digitally-perpetuated landscape. Having created content for a variety of mediums for both a massive brand such as Saturday Night Live and a more nascent brand such as The Kicker, what was his take on how audiences interacted with brands nowadays? And more importantly, what is the role of brands in all of this?
1.Tell us about The Kicker.
Bryan: The Kicker is a sports comedy vertical, started by Above Average which is the digital arm from Lorne Michaels, the creator of Saturday Night Live. I helped create it because I believed there was an audience for this who were, at the time, underserved. We work with many brands and leagues.
2.What is the role of a media platform in today’s content-rich digital landscape?
Bryan: I’ve been at Saturday Night Live for 13 years and have witnessed the growth and evolution of digital comedy. When The Kicker first started, Youtube and Facebook were in its early stages and served as platforms to help share our content. Now we’re programming specifically FOR those platforms and the content we create varies for each of them- Twitter, Youtube, Instagram- it’s all very different. Brands will now come to us and say this is a “Facebook play” or a “Youtube play” so because of this, the platforms have become more involved in telling us what to do rather than us using them to do what we want.
3.What is the significance of content to audiences today?
Bryan: Things have become more narrowcast and you have to work with more specificity. Unlike Saturday Night Live which is such a big tent brand, today’s landscape means creating content for more narrow groups – we have The Kicker creating sports comedy, The Reductress creating comedy for younger women and so on. We are finding that being specific is how you cultivate a loyal audience because you’re programming for them.
4.What is the role of brands in the content/audience relationship?
Bryan: Brands have become more conscious of the mediums and understand the importance of programming for different platforms. Additionally, they are more willing to work with us to integrate their brands into the content- aiming to make it entertaining first, messaging second. They’ll come to us with their message but then ask us how we can help them deliver that message across in a way that makes sense for the platform and the audience.
5. For both of your brands- Saturday Night Live and The Kicker- what are the short and long terms goals of the content for audiences?
Bryan: Saturday Night Live has been on for 43 years and is a well-known brand everyone has an opinion on. Most of what we do digitally is to help support the central show and brand. For The Kicker, we are programming for all types of mediums with the intention to get it out in different ways. It’s not necessarily to help one central brand; The Kicker is a more fluid brand that shifts depending on the brand we’re currently working with at the time. With Saturday Night Live, it always goes back to the show.
**Stay tuned as we’ll be posting Evan’s Q&A soon as well as the full video from our #StraightTalk event!