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Food Network and the Internet Part Four: Video
Sunday, December 30, 2007 | posted by Mike

Welcome to the final installment of a four part series: Food Network and the Internet...a short and (hopefully) not too wonky look at how the Food Network's current and possible future online strategies. This part will focus on video. Scroll down for parts one through three.

OK...after promising you "a few short thoughts" and then droning on for upwards of 3000 total words (I don't think I'm exaggerating), today's topic will be considerably shorter. That's mostly because it's an area in which I don't claim to possess a ton of experience or expertise.

The dramatic rise over the past five years or so in the number of individuals accessing the Internet via high-speed connections, either at work or in the home, has been a welcome development for those in the entertainment industry. Or at least it should have been. A lack of foresight on the part of these media entities has led to two major black eyes. First, as an overreaction to the sharing of music files online, large companies instituted a number of digital rights management measures that have failed miserably and generated considerable ill will among the public, so much so that online outlets are now moving back to DRM-free formats. Secondly, the current writers' strike is a result of the lack of a comprehensive way of sharing the earnings from online video.

But despite these issues, online video is clearly the future of entertainment delivery, especially as we move toward a system wherein there is little difference between the various components of your home entertainment system (computer, television, DVR, DVD collection).

So, we know that Food Network has a ton of great content and a not-so-great way of displaying it on its site. I wouldn't be overly concerned about that because they'll get it figured out sooner or later. Either they'll come up with another player interface or they'll figure out a way to parter with someone who can provide the technology.

What is really interesting to the future of the network is the point of a post at Silicon Alley Insider. That post takes a broad look at the online strategy of the network, but pays particular attention to how the Network could become a community for individuals to share their own recipe and cooking videos.
Next step: Set up the best food-video sharing site, where the network's legions of fans could upload their best Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, or Iron Chef impersonations. Homemade cooking shows hardly require a big budget -- almost any digital camera will shoot adequate video -- and food is a cheap prop. The best uploads could even get some time on the cable network, giving fans more incentive to participate. There won't be any TV cannibalization -- viewers will still watch the cable net to stay in touch with their favorite celebrity chefs. Any because there shouldn't be any lewd or objectionable content, it should be easy to advertise alongside the content.
Long-time readers know that I'm a big fan of the DIY food video folks out there, some of which I link to over on the left. There is a lot of talent out there. Perhaps one of them may become the next big thing. But, at the very least, there is good, compelling content that would be ripe for the type of community that is mentioned above.

So there you have it. I think the thing that sticks out most is that the Food Network is well-suited to taking advantage of the Internet thanks to their wealth of content and personalities, a strong brand and a viewing public that is united by its passion for food. Look for the folks in charge to take advantage of the Web in order to provide a customizable, robust and interactive experience for its fans.



Hi, I'm Mike and I created TVFoodFan.com as a place where you can come to get the latest news and views about what’s going on in the world of culinary television.

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