There are two sides to every story. For example, earlier today, digital publisher Dotdash announced that it had expanded further into food editorial content with the acquisition of Simply Recipes and Serious Eats from Fexy Media. The flip side of that news is that Fexy Media is getting out of the editorial business to focus on its core technology platform.
“We are divesting ourselves from [the] digital media ad supported model,” Fexy Media Co-Founder and Co-CEO Cliff Sharples told me by phone this morning. “We are really focused on being a technology company and ultimately building a marketplace.”
Fexy Media’s main business is its Relish shoppable recipe platform that Sharples says now reaches more than 120 million users a month across its 30 blog partner sites. Simply Recipes and Serious Eats will both remain Fexy content partners and use the Relish platform, so Fexy isn’t losing any audience or reach.
Fexy’s move away from editorial is understandable. One, as noted, creating editorial content is not the company’s core focus. Second, creating good editorial content on an ongoing basis is hard, and harder to justify when it isn’t your core business. There is also already a ton of competition from big and smaller food media players alike. Finally, we are in the midst of pandemic-related behavioral changes that could translate into bigger upside for Fexy. COVID-19 has forced the closure of dine-in options at restaurants, not to mention forced the closure of restaurants altogether. This means that people are eating at home more, which in turn spurs people to seek out and discover new foods to cook (hello, sourdough!). That’s where Fexy comes in.
Fexy’s Relish generates revenue through its shoppable recipe relationships. Find a recipe you like at a participating Relish site, click a button and all the items are sent to a grocery retailer where you can make your purchase and, increasingly, have those items delivered on the same day. Fexy monetizes the idea of consumers turning discovery into action through product placements, revenue shares and affiliate programs.
Buying groceries online is something else that has gotten a push from the pandemic. Fears over COVID translated into record amounts of online grocery shopping over the past six months and grocery e-commerce in the U.S.
“Over the full scope of the pandemic, we’ve seen more than a tripling of take rate in terms of people using relish, building out recipes and sending those to [retail] partnerships,” Sharples said.
And while online grocery shopping has fallen from its record highs in recent months, it’s projected to hit $250 billion in total sales in the U.S. by 2025. So there is a huge opportunity for Fexy to focus on expanding its with retailers and other content sites, rather than trying to build out their own.