The Food Network today announced the launch of its Food Network Kitchen video streaming service, which the network described as the “Peloton for Food.” I understand why they chose the Peloton analogy since it’s a combination of live and on-demand video classes delivered directly to your home.
But after speaking with Peter Faricy, CEO Global Direct-to-Consumer and Tyler Whitworth, SVP and GM Global Directo-to-Consumer at Food Network parent company Discovery today at an Amazon event, the Peloton comparison seems woefully insufficient. Food Network Kitchen isn’t just about video classes, it’s also about shoppable recipes, guided cooking and potentially creating an entirely new type of Food Network star.
If you missed this morning’s announcement, here’s the gist. Food Network Kitchen will offer 25 weekly live interactive cooking classes starring Food Network chefs, as well as more than 800 cooking classes and 3,000 instructional videos on-demand. Kitchen will launch at the end of next month in select cities for $7 a month via Amazon Echo devices with a screen as well as iOS and Android.
But you immediately begin to see the bigger ambitions at play here. Unlike a Peloton spin class, where you only need to bring yourself, to make a meal, you need ingredients and utensils, which are required before the class begins. As such, with Food Network Kitchen when you see a class you want to take, you’ll also be able to purchase all the food in a shoppable recipe and eventually the equipment you’ll need in order to follow along. And of course, with Amazon being a Food Network partner, getting those to you next-day won’t be a problem.
Another benefit of partnering with Amazon is the ability to tie in directly with Alexa, which has been integrated into a number of kitchen appliances. So in addition to an instructor telling you what to do, there is also an opportunity for the class to control your devices. When Bobby Flay says it’s time to pre-heat the oven, you can just have Alexa do it while you finish chopping onions (or whatever). When asked if this was on the product roadmap, Faricy told me with a big smile “It’s not available for launch. We love our partnership with Amazon.” So that’s definitely happening.
As such, this is a shot across the bow to startups like Innit and SideChef, which are also built around combining easy to follow video cooking instruction and guided cooking. Actually, it’s more like a direct blast as Food Network is able to leverage its huge brand, vast archive of content, and roster of celebrity chefs. Will this partnership with Amazon push out those existing startups?
Which brings me to the last way I think Food Network Kitchen is actually a much bigger deal than Peloton. With Kitchen, The Food Network migrates its dominance from the living room into the kitchen. Through its celebrities, it elevates instructional videos into must-see TV (Bobby Flay will show you how to cook ribs live!). In addition, just like Peloton has its own set of spin instructors stars, Food Network can create an entirely new generation of cooking show stars around specific demographics or cuisine. These shows will be cheaper to make and there will be much more data about what foods, instructors, and styles people like to make even more targeted programming.
Now, the question remains whether or not people will pay $7 a month (on top of all their other video subscriptions to Hulu, Netflix, etc.) for Food Network Kitchen. But given the ecosystem that Food Network is building around it, there’s also a good chance that people won’t classify this subscription as “TV” and more like a cooking add-on to bring some more excitement to their meals.
Regardless, Food Network has definitely not been spinning its wheels, and its Kitchen could be a game changer in the kitchen.