Food Networks Find Life on Live Streaming Platforms

While TV ratings drop, live video is experiencing the beginnings of a resurgence online. Food-related content was once a popular piece of the pay TV subscription, though food shows lost favor among viewers a few years ago. Now, food content is making a comeback – whether that’s recipes, cooking shows or images of food – on the social video platforms.

Now that all those platforms support live streaming broadcasts, live cooking shows are finding new, younger audiences on mobile devices, tablets, laptops and Internet-connected TV sets. The popularity of food content online is so strong in fact that earlier this year, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen and former YouTube engineering lead Vijay Karunamurthy launched Nom, a live streaming social video platform dedicated completely to food. The platform offers user-generated streams of content from celebrity chefs to amateur ones, covering tutorials, demos, interviews and coverage of live foodie events. Nom is now one of a handful of live Web video platforms where food content rules.

Martha Stewart Is Streaming Her New Show Directly to Fans on Facebook

Who needs a TV network when you have a host of global live streaming platforms?

Taking a page from fellow TV chef Paula Deen, Martha Stewart has gone direct-to-consumer with a new show that’s shot on an iPhone and broadcast globally through Facebook.

Stewart, whose Facebook page has over 2 million likes, has aired 12 episodes on Facebook over the past year. Episodes range from a full hour to 30-minute segments to 15-min ones, covering topics such as cooking, gardening, and other DIY topics. She shoots her Facebook Live videos with celebrity guests and fellow chefs, whom she chats with while cooking. Stewart has also hosted a live question and answer video, and she will often field a few questions from viewers on the fly. And while Stewart isn’t receiving any advertising revenue from the platform, the show has a number of sponsors and brand partners that help monetize its production.

The scale of these videos isn’t massive by traditional TV or even Internet video standards – all are under 500,000 in terms of views – but the level of engagement Stewart has with her fans is impressive.

Paula Deen made a similar move in 2014, when she launched her very own subscription Web channel, called the Paula Deen Network, after being forced to leave The Food Network. Her direct-to-consumer service offers fans access to Deen’s new Web-exclusive cooking show, which is filmed in a stripped down studio in front of a live audience composed of lucky fans that won spots in the audience. [See “Paula Deen Skips TV Comeback in Favor of OTT Service” in TOR882].

Twitch Launches Food Vertical in Live Internet TV Push

The social live streaming video platforms are also giving rise to new formats of food-related content and new ways to interact with viewers.

Amazon’s live streaming platform Twitch is expanding its global live video platform to include targeted niche content verticals of live Web shows that stream directly to thousands of Millennials and Generation Z viewers. Twitch, which began as a live streaming platform for gamers to broadcast themselves playing video games, began courting more traditional TV fare last year with its Twitch Creative initiative. While Twitch reaches over 100 million viewers each month, its Creative network is reaching around 2 million viewers, and growing its audience 40% each month, according to Bill Morrier, who heads up Twitch Creative.

Twitch launched its own food vertical earlier this year. The site was launched with a special Web marathon of Julia Child’s classic TV cooking show, “The French Chef.” Episodes of the show streamed 24/7 for four days. Twitch’s food vertical showcases live cooking demonstrations from its community of creatives. Twitch has taken a more refined approach to its live content strategy than, say, YouTube’s wild west. On Twitch, only the top content creators with the largest following can participate in Twitch’s content creation initiative. All the content on Twitch is live streamed and made available on-demand after the fact. And importantly, each “channel” on the platform has a side bar of running commentary from viewers, which gives the audience opportunity to interact with the chefs and one another in real time.

Last week, Twitch launched Social Eating, a new category of video for the food network where viewers can watch chefs prepare food and then eat it. The idea is that the content creator can field questions and interact with the audience while eating. Twitch said it got the idea from the Muk-bang phenomenon that has swept across South Korea. Muk-bang, which translates to “eating broadcast” refers to the trend of young, Internet savvy consumers live streaming themselves eating different foods…

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