I’ve been thinking about up and coming multi-series channels that haven’t made it yet on ComScore’s top 10 YouTube list. Here’s one to keep an eye on. Released in August of 2012, the Above Average Network has already released 137 videos in just a five-month span with a subscription base that currently stands at a little under 130,000.
Above Average is the web video branch of Broadway Productions which has produced twenty comedic movies to date including “Baby Mama,” “Mean Girls” Tommy Boy” and “Three Amigos” and TV shows such as “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”.
If you’re not familiar with the name of that studio, you would be familiar with its creator: Saturday Night Live founder Lorne Michaels who founded BP in 1979. In addition to sharing the production costs of SNL and producing movies, Michaels’ company also launched TV projects of SNL alum including Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, 30 Rock, Up All Night and Portlandia.
Above Average is a “Summer Home” for SNL Staff
If there’s one distinctive advantage that Above Average Network has in producing videos without great cost, it’s that the brainpower is already there. The writing and production staff comes from the talent pools of 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live. Andrew Wallenstein of Variety likened Above Average as a “summer home” for the writing staff and crew.
Andy Samberg finds a new home
One might surmise that Above Average’s release was spurred by the departure of cast member Andy Samberg this past summer. During his seven-year stint on the iconic late night show, Samberg and fellow SNL writers Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (the trio previously comprised the Lonely Island) infused SNL with one of its most popular segments which became known as the Digital Short.
It’s safe to assume that SNL would not have been wise to continue making videos in Samberg’s absence and call them Digital Shorts, as that was a brand that had become associated with Samberg and his cohorts. In this vein, the creation of the Above Average Network was a necessary rebranding to continue making digital videos.