3 ways Tastemade will use its new funding to grow

Flush with new cash, food video network Tastemade wants to get fatter.

The Santa Monica-based company, which currently employs 50 people, has raised $40 million from a group of investors that include Goldman Sachs, Food Network owner Scripps Networks Interactive and Liberty Media. The money will go to help the company expand globally, more efficiently distribute across platforms and increase its salesforce, according to co-founder Larry Fitzgibbon.

Tastemade claims 1 billion views per month across its network. Its social channels account for a big chunk of that viewership. For instance, the company’s main Facebook page did 258 million views in November, while YouTube and Instagram brought it another 1.6 million and 295,000 views, respectively, according to Tubular Labs.

Tastemade’s audience is also young and mobile, with 75 percent of its audience between the ages of 18 and 34 and more than 70 percent watching on smartphones.

Here’s how the company plans to grow across all those areas:

Going global.
Tastemade is big in Brazil, with more than 315,000 YouTube subscribers, 3.2 million Facebook fans and nearly 200 million views per month across both platforms.

Brazil is an important enough market that the company has a small programming team dedicated to it. This team creates content for those channels and often partners with influencers in the region, sometimes even featuring them in content created for Tastemade’s U.S. channels.

In 2016, Tastemade is looking to set up a similar team for Japan (where its Facebook page has more than 120,000 subscribers), and any other markets it launches dedicated channels in.

Improve its distribution capabilities.
Tastemade has a homegrown CMS,  and some of the new money will go toward making it easier to distribute to different platforms. As Tastemade looks abroad for expansion, it’ll be important to make sure the CMS keeps up with an increasing number of channels and platforms.

With the CMS, Tastemade can create different cuts of a single video, such as vertical videos for Snapchat, square videos for Instagram, landscape videos of varying lengths for Facebook, YouTube and Apple TV. It also ingests data that Tastemade receives from each of its distribution partners, giving the company a single hub from which it can tweak and improve how it programs content.

A larger sales force and more branded content.
While it’s not profitable yet, Tastemade’s revenue grew 100 percent in 2015, according to Fitzgibbon. The company opened its first sales office in New York in 2015, and is looking to ramp up its sales team in 2016.

The company has produced more than 20 series with brands including Google and Sanpellegrino. It wants to produce more of these sponsored, multi-episode food, travel and lifestyle shows.

Tastemade also wants to get better at selling ads. For instance, the company manages ad inventory for its Snapchat Discover channel, which launched in December. The channel has been doing well and as it grows, Tastemade needs to be well-equipped, said Fitzgibbon.

“When you have an opportunity and visibility into something that’s working, you want to do more of it as quickly as possible,” he said.

Images via Tastemade


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