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Food Network Going Web 2.0
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 | posted by Mike

You know how much we here at TVFF like us some cutting edge technology. That's mostly because, if it weren't for the Internet and blogs, we'd be standing on a street corner making smart-ass comments about Sandra Lee and the Deen Brothers. That would probably earn us a trip to the loony bin. Instead, we do it here and receive the accolades and adoration of literally tens of like-minded TV food enthusiasts.

Well, we do like it when folks start to see the value of going heavily into the online world, and we've been advocating a larger presence for the Food Network when it comes to online. We're starting to see the fruits of such a move with a whole mess of new features and marketing. One of them popped up as part of the recent move of TVFF HQ.

We hooked up the cable in the new place and it was a new carrier. The package offered by the company in my new location offered a whole heap of free (well, if you don't count the $752 cable bill every month) on-demand programming, including a number of Food Network programs. I think Mrs. TVFF did put a lock on Giada's South Beach episode, though, so that kind of sucks.

But the past day or so has brought a couple of stories, one at Multichannel News and one written by Madeline Miller (moonlighting from her Everything Rachael Ray job) that talk about a couple of new advertising and publicity techniques currently being used.

Madeline runs with the story of how all of the contestants on this season's The Next Food Network Star have spiffy new MySpace pages, complete with images and videos. Frankly, MySpace makes me run for the hills with the terrible custom designs (I'm quickly becoming a Facebook addict, though), but the kids like it and media outlets have been getting into it in a big way. If you want to check out the contestants, swing by Madeline's article.

OK...that's weird. Remember my post about coincidences yesterday? As I was typing the last paragraph, my shuffling iPod landed on Earth, Wind & Fire's Shining Star, which was used as in the commercials for The Next Food Network Star. Coincidence, or proof that the big man upstairs is a TVFF reader? You decide.

Anyway, the Multichannel News piece goes into a bit of depth on some of the Network's other projects, and the fact that they're partnering with a number of organizations, including those as diverse as the NBA and Disney/Pixar. Ask any marketer and they'll tell you that it's becoming increasingly difficult to reach an audience, particularly using the "old" media like television and print advertising. And it's still up in the air as to exactly how effective some kinds of online advertising (e.g. banner ads) are, so you can expect to see more and more of this kind of "viral" marketing in the future, as companies give you something (original YouTube videos, for example) as a way to not only get you more interested in their product, but also to hopefully get you to forward that cool content to all of your friends.

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