Humor and entertainment brand CAFE has hired former Fusion executive Bryan Carmel as head of CAFE video, with plans to dramatically ramp up video production.
CAFE debuted last year, reaching more than 50 million people a month and earning viral success with satirical political pundit, Carl Diggler. It produced more than 900 videos in 2016, and plans to increase that number to 3,000 by next year, while increasing its emphasis on original pilots that will lead to long-form series, rather than quick-hit videos, the company said.
Carmel just opened CAFE’s first offices in Hollywood. Carmel was head of comedy and vice president of development at Fusion, where his projects included executive producing “Democracy Handbook with Bassem Youssef.” (Youssef has been dubbed “the Jon Stewart of Egypt.”)
“CAFE is really about using humor to question the assumptions of the world around us,” said Carmel. “That’s something I’ve always tried to do as a filmmaker, a producer, and an executive. The goal is to establish CAFE as an iconic brand with a specific point of view. And also hit shows. Those are good too. We’ve built a really ambitious plan for video expansion over the next few years, and I’m excited to dig in.”
CAFE is owned by Some Spider Studios, which also owns Scary Mommy. Some Spider founder & CEO Vinit Bharara called Carmel “a triple threat.”
“He has that rare smart/funny/mission combination we were looking for. He can make you laugh, think and look at the world around you a little more closely. Which is a lot of what CAFE is about,” Bharara said.
Some Spider Studios plans to launch 30 pilot series in the second half of 2017 and roughly 100 pilot series in 2018. The company, which recently signed BuzzFeed’s Nick Fabiano to serve as creative director, reports reaching 150 million people each month across social platforms and 20 million on its owned and operated websites.
It is financed by Bharara, co-founder of Diapers.com, which was sold to Amazon for $545 million, and Marc Lore, founder of Jet.com, which was sold to Walmart for $3.3 billion late in 2016.