Oct 29, 2019

Media's growing appetite for food content

Media's growing appetite for food content

Media companies looking to expand outside of advertising, and especially into commerce, are increasingly following the same path down the grocery aisle.

Why it matters: Food and beverage caters to nearly every demographic. When launching forays into commerce, media companies are finding this an easy place to start.

Driving the news: Discovery Inc. launched a Food Network Kitchen App in conjunction with Amazon last week that will offer users live cooking classes, as well as the ability to buy food and kitchenware directly from the app.

  • CEO David Zaslav said at the Vanity Fair News Establishment conference: "This platform is ubiquitous to everyone and we get all of the data and we get all of the credit cards."

Other notable examples:

  • Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti told Axios that last year the company made over $100 million from revenue streams like selling cookware from its food brand Tasty at Walmart.
  • Dotdash, a media company that's owned by Barry Diller's IAC, bought liquor.com earlier this year and said it would use that brand to further launch its commerce business.
  • The Chernin Group has poured over $130 million into media companies like Food52 and MeatEater to help them launch commerce businesses around food products, like whiskey, cookbooks and cutting boards.

Be smart: Food has also proven to be a growing vertical for advertisers, subscriptions, events and licensing.

  • The three consumer packaged goods (CPG) food categories — Food, Alcoholic Beverage and Non-Alcoholic Beverage — made up 11% of the 2018 ad market, per data from Standard Media Index.
  • While the national TV ad market has dropped 1% over a five-year CAGR (excluding the Olympics), Food Network's advertising has grown 5.9%.

Even news outlets, or companies which own news operations, have launched events, licensing businesses and subscription businesses around food.

  • The New York Times Cooking App surpassed 250,000 subscriptions in Q2 2019, tripling the number of subscriptions in just one year.
  • New York Media's food vertical Grub Street teamed up with "Just Salad" shops to sell salads in New York City.
  • Vox Media's largest TV licensing deal to date has been a multi-year, multi-series development and production deal that's a collaboration between celebrity chefs and Vox Media's Eater brand.
  • The Infatuation sold 17,000 tickets to its annual EEEEATSCON weekend-long food festivals in LA and NYC this year.

The bottom line: Food sells.

Go deeper: Investors are missing out on the food revolution

Go deeper

Baldwin, Florida, opens government-run grocery store to address food desert

Produce at a grocery store. Photo: Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images

After the only grocery store in Baldwin, Florida, closed, the mayor opened a market run by the local government to help limit the community's reliance on fast food and dollar stores, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Small, low-income communities suffer in food deserts, where it requires trips that are in the tens of miles to access fresh groceries. About 13.5 million people live in food deserts across the U.S., per the USDA.

Go deeperArrowNov 23, 2019

Why Amazon keeps spending big on grocery delivery

An Amazon Fresh delivery worker makes a stop. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Amazon is losing billions of dollars as it expands free, fast shipping. Still, the company keeps doubling down and debuting two-hour grocery delivery at zero cost to Prime members in new markets.

The big picture: The American food market is worth a whopping $700 billion, but that's not why Amazon is chasing it. Consumers shop for food more frequently than anything else, and Amazon is betting that getting people to visit its site whenever they need groceries will turn them into loyal, lucrative customers.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019

The Boomers' media behemoth

Axios Visuals

AARP, formerly known as The American Association of Retired Persons, is one of the largest media companies in the country, bringing in more than $174 million annually in media-based advertising revenue, according to public filings.

"OK, millennials. But we're the people that actually have the money," Myrna Blyth, senior vice president and editorial director of AARP Media, said in an interview with Axios, referencing the popular "OK, boomer" tagline that youngsters are using to poke fun at older people online.

Go deeperArrowNov 12, 2019