Food Videos Are Now on the Menu at Condé Nast

A new culinary competitor to Food Network

The Condé Nast Food Innovation Group (FIG) is serving up something new for foodies.

"There is a real need right now for innovative food programming," said Dawn Ostroff, president of Condé Nast Entertainment, the publisher's digital video, TV and film wing. So today, the company is launching The Food Innovation Group Video Network.

The FIG was formed in the summer of 2014 when Condé Nast put Epicurious, its digital food and recipe brand, and Bon Appétit, its 60-year-old food lifestyle magazine, under the same roof.

"We saw a huge opportunity in the marketplace," added Pam Drucker Mann, FIG's publisher and chief revenue officer. "The only real player in town is the Food Network."

Drucker Mann noted that video has become a priority at FIG. Anytime a companion video was placed alongside a text story, Drucker Mann said traffic shot up: "Like, out-of-the-water."

The Video Network is designed to be mobile-first, with much of the content presented vertically. "It's one of the few categories that really work on any of the platforms, but mobile in particular is a great way to be able to get access to information," said Ostroff. Millennials, who consume most of their media on mobile, are eating up stories about food. After fitness and fashion, food is the most popular category among millennials.

Between an underserved—and young—audience and a growing shift toward digital content, FIG is confident advertisers in the space will get on board.

"As we're seeing the younger consumers start to shift to digital video, I know the advertisers in the food space want to be there with them," said Ostroff. "We're seeing money migrate from cable into digital video."

In addition to the usual five-second pre-roll spots, as well as 15-second and 30-second spots, brands will have the opportunity to align themselves with content in two different ways: by attaching to already-produced content or by working with editors to create branded content.

Bon Appetit has a branded editorial series with luxury automaker Infiniti modeled after the magazine's Kitchen Tools series.

Even though the brands are under one roof, Epicurious and Bon Appetit play to different audiences: Epicurious videos will be of the 'how-to' variety, while Bon Appetit's will be personality-driven.

"We want to take that approach of two unique brands and apply that to video as well," said Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appetit and editorial director of Epicurious. "From an advertising standpoint, it's nice to have two brands they know they can trust."

At launch, the majority of the shows on FIG's network will come from Bon Appetit, including 24 Hours In…, which was inspired by a Andrew Knowlton story from earlier this year in which he spent 24 hours working at Waffle House. FIG will have 25 different shows and future content will include user generated videos from 100+ food bloggers.