Friday, September 5, 2008, 8:59 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
TasteOfHome.com (TOH for short), the companion web site of Taste of Home magazine, (a top 10 magazine owned by Reader's Digest Association with a circulation of 3.1 million) is forging an innovative new model for magazines seeking to pursue broadband video.
As many VideoNuze readers know, I've been bullish on the opportunities broadband presents to traditional print media, especially magazines with strong niche appeal. What's new and different about TOH's effort is that it brings together several other key broadband themes I've previously discussed - purpose-driven user generated video, simple syndication and the evolving editorial role in the broadband era - to create a compelling publishing model and value proposition for its target audience.
As background, TOH's original print model was to solicit, filter and package user-submitted recipes into a bi-monthly magazine. That model has continued online, and TOH now offers 34,000+ recipes. As Renee Jordan, TOH's General Manager, who I spoke to yesterday, told me, TOH's audience is highly engaged and cooks 5 days/week. They also seek information from many sources, TV, magazines, newspapers, online, etc.
TOH operates a test kitchen where its chefs prepare selected user-submitted recipes. About a year ago, seeing the growth of video, TOH began updating its kitchen so that the chefs could be taped. To date, the company has produced 300 videos - a big accomplishment, but still just a tiny fraction of its total 34,000 available recipes.
To address the need for more high-quality video while retaining a strong degree of editorial control, TOH has tapped into the UGV frenzy by using aggregation and filtering tools from Magnify.net, a company I've previously covered. An editor at TOH is able to create "playlists" or specialized sub-channels (e.g. "Death by Chocolate," College Cooking," "Football Kickoff Party") by aggregating the best user-generated videos to be found at sites across the web and also by mixing/matching TOH's own videos into the playlists.
Renee explained that sometimes TOH might pair a video of how to make roasted potatoes, for example, with a recipe for how to do the same. Or it might pair a video of how to make a great lamb chop with the potato recipe. The combinations are endless. And users have the ability to subscribe to different playlists as well as customize them. TOH's use of the web's embeddable videos is another example of what I've called the "syndicated video economy."
The key is that TOH retains editorial control over which videos it incorporates. By harnessing users' passion to create their own high-quality videos, TOH's editorial role shifts from solely creating - on its own dime - every ounce of content it offers, to instead becoming a hybrid creator-curator. Renee acknowledges this is a meaningful shift, which might make many in traditional media uncomfortable. Still, she says matter-of-factly, "this is what needs to happen in the real world of the Internet."
I wholeheartedly agree. As if the Internet itself didn't create enough upheaval for many in traditional media, broadband video is now blurring competition further. In this example TOH is now able to re-position itself to its audience as a credible alternative to FoodNetwork.com (for example) when searching for the best cooking videos. That benefit spills over to advertising as well, as it has huge upside inventory potential for targeted pre-rolls and overlays.
To be fair, this is still a very new initiative. But the results are encouraging: TOH has doubled its video selection in just weeks - at little expense - and has increased its video-related page views by 50%. Other print media would be wise to take note of this new model. Ditto for incumbent video providers.
What do you think? Post a comment.