• Food Network Kitchen Blends Entertainment, Learning and Shopping

    Discovery announced an intriguing direct-to-consumer offering yesterday called “Food Network Kitchen” in collaboration with Amazon. While SVOD announcements seem to occur on a near-daily basis, Food Network Kitchen has different ambitions, combining daily live and interactive cooking classes hosted by celebrity chefs along with a deep on-demand library of classes, plus viewing and voice navigation using Amazon Alexa and Fire TV devices. iOS and Android mobile devices will also be supported when Food Network Kitchen launches next month, with others coming next year.

    While the service carries a $7 per month fee ($60 per year and available for $48/year during initial promotion), critical to its success is integrated shopping and home delivery, fulfilled by Amazon. Subscribers will be able to order ingredients through the Food Network Kitchen app using Amazon Fresh in certain cities. In 2020 they will also be able to use a “one-touch transaction feature” to buy equipment (e.g. pots, pans, etc.) that’s being used by the chefs.

    Tying in commerce seems like a smart move by Discovery and reflects how content can be used for more than pure entertainment, especially as voice activated devices have gone mainstream, enabling new interactive experiences. Cooking is a perfect category to pursue, capitalizing on how many people already use devices when preparing meals. Food Network Kitchen takes the model further, blending the cooking and shopping experiences.

    This is important because the proliferation of SVOD services and downward pressure on pricing driven by Disney+ and Apple TV+ means content providers are going to need to tap multiple revenue streams to succeed. Amazon itself has been a pioneer in using video primarily to drive its Prime business, which is commerce-based. Disney clearly sees the Disney+ can generate ancillary revenues, as does Apple with Apple TV+. Finding additional revenue streams are all the more critical because the cost of A-list talent rising as well.

    Discovery seems well aware of these imperatives and is looking to make Food Network Kitchen a trusted partner for cooks of all abilities. Discovery’s CEO David Zaslav referenced Food Network kitchen as being the “Peloton of Food” and so it will offer 25 weekly live classes, and 5 daily classes on weekends. Viewers will be able interact with a range of expert chefs leading these classes, though Discovery did not specify exactly how this will occur. There will be an on-demand library of 800 cooking classes and 3,000 instructional videos. Among other features is a 24/7 “Kitchen-on-Call” help line, 80,000 recipes and a selection of Food Network’s top cooking shows, available ad-free.

    The intersection of video, instruction, shopping and devices is going to be emulated by others, especially in lifestyle categories. NBC Sports launched GOLFPASS earlier this year with Rory McIlroy, which also includes a range of shopping and travel features beyond video instruction for golfers of all abilities. It’s easy to envision these models being launched by large media companies that already have libraries of content, production resources and celebrity access. As they do, consumers’ experiences with video will continue to evolve.