SNL hooks up with Color to broadcast from backstage

The first fruits of a multi-year deal with Verizon are starting to pay off for live video-broadcasting startup Color. Thanks to Verizon’s match-making skills, sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live will be using Color to broadcast unscripted, backstage footage to show fans.

Color is the unproven $41 million-backed Palo Alto company betting the house on live video clips broadcast from mobile devices. The startup makes iPhone and Android applications, hooked into Facebook’s Open Graph, that stream 30-second video clips live to friends. Last week, the company connected with Verizon to release a special, Verizon 4G LTE network-optimized version of the application with higher quality video and audio.

Saturday Night Live will use the new-and-improved Verizon-Color technology to broadcast live clips (using a Verizon Wireless phone, of course) from this week’s rehearsals. The show will also put Color to use backstage during its May 19 season finale episode, which features host Mick Jagger and musical guests Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire.

Color users who are either fans of Verizon Wireless or SNL on Facebook will receive automatic notifications each time SNL starts shooting live video. We’re told this is the first time SNL, which has 2.5 million fans on Facebook, has used a mobile application to provide show fans with backstage access.

The backstage deal, which promises fans exclusive behind-the-scenes access, could go a long way in attracting new users to Color — the startup has roughly 1 million active users. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Verizon is also running an ad (seen below) to promote the three-way, late-night hookup.