Tasty is enjoying a meteoric rise driven by its low budget, fixed-camera cooking format and Facebook distribution.
It is a Case Study in how viewing on Facebook is hurting leading cable channels like the Food Network.
Hands & Pans:
Tasty is a BuzzFeed division that produces and shares content related to comfort food.
- Tasty’s Facebook page was launched in July, 2015.
- Powered by a snappy “How To” video format dubbed “Hands & Pans,” Tasty now has over 85 million FB followers in U.S. alone.
- In some months, Tasty has earned more than 3 billion views.
Engagement: Tasty vs Food Network
- NewsWhip’s chart of FB video engagement for 4Q’16 captures how low-budget Tasty crushed high-cost Food Network.
The Burger With 200 mn Views
- The burger recipe “Sliders 4 Ways” has been viewed 200 +/- million times on Facebook.
Food Network: Origin
- My friends Joe Langhan and Reese Schonfeld originated the Food Network in 1993 with industry veterans Tryghve Myhren and Jack Clifford .
- The launch was often greeted by derision:
- “Who is going to watch programs about how to crack eggs in prime time?”
- The brains behind the launch correctly forecast that:
- Food was a giant ad spend category that was not supported by a dedicated channel, and that media buyers would flock to it.
- A sliver of the TV audience loved programs about the preparation and context of food, and would watch them day in and day out.
- (Read my coverage of the launch here. I worked on aspects of Food’s early strategy.)
First Came Evolution
- The Food Network and its junior Cooking channel presented a buffet of formats:
- Studio-based How To’s hosted by big personalities like Emeril dominated at first.
- Elimination shows like The Next Food Network Star followed.
- The mixed has included documentary-style specials and series.
- Analyst SNL Kagan estimated Food’s 2017 programming spend at close to $400 million.
Then Came Devaluation?
- Scripps Networks, the parent of HGTV acquired Food in 1997.
- Discovery Communications acquired Scripps Networks recently, valuing the company at $14.3 billion.
- The market is taking a dim view of the acquisition: Discovery’s own valuation fell quite steeply after the takeover was announced, and then flat-lined. (See below).
- Wall Street analysts rely on complex valuation models. One factor must be how pesky little online video formats like Tasty’s “Hands & Pans” are capturing the young viewers that advertisers love.
Source: Y Charts
Facebook Gets the Final Word…
- The Tasty Case Study is another instance of Facebook‘s dominance of the online video ecosystem.
- Facebook distributes the content of Food, Tasty and countless other food video specialists, and all without incurring any production costs.
- Facebook earns revenues from ad sales associated with these programs.
- And it retains detailed data about each FB Friend who views each program.
… and the Future
- When Facebook wants to launch its own food video brand, the deep data mined from viewers of Tasty, Food Network and all the others will drive an online Facebook Food video product that will strip value from today’s players.
- Read last week’s coverage of Facebook and the online video efforts of newspaper publishers like The New York Times.