Tastemade UK melds food with sports in new series ‘Game Day’

Tastemade UK is making a play for younger male audiences, a group it believes is underserved in the food market, by creating shows with football players, thanks to a partnership with sports digital media agency 90/24 Media.

Tastemade has a slate of shows it’s pitching as part of this deal, the first likely to air this summer. All episodes in the series will run between six and 20 minutes long; the number of episodes and series is still being worked out.

One series, “Game Day,” follows what the players eat on match days, whether they follow a scientific routine or revert to comfort food under pressure. Another show, unnamed for now, will pair players with their mothers in the kitchen cooking dishes from their childhood. The shows will be distributed on its own site and app and on social platforms.

“It’s about passion, people are passionate about food and football,” said Mohammed Ali Salha, managing director for Europe at the digital publisher, adding that there’s been an emergence in a new type of football fan that’s less tribal about the sport and sees it more as a lifestyle component.

“We want to explore the emotional connection and nostalgia of food in [players’] daily lives,” he said. “There are also a lot of Premier League players not from the U.K. We want to see how they’ve adjusted to British cuisine.”

Tastemade has previously dabbled in football-focused content, spurring it to develop a longer-term content strategy: In 2017, it ran a campaign with Sky Sports decorating a cookie to mark Tottenham Hotspur finding a new stadium. Last year, the publisher released six-part documentary “The Pitch” looking at football fan culture in Britain, which aired on AT&T Audience Network.

Internal research found that Tastemade UK’s male audience members between 25 and 44 years old are 21 percent more likely than the general population to be into sports. For now, content will combine sport and food, but could center on more sports-focused content and branch out from football, said Salha.

Tastemade has set out ambitions beyond creating food videos, which largely fueled its growth in a social news feed, but its content verticals like travel and homeware have been more pronounced in the U.S. In the U.K., most of its Facebook videos are still food related, while other platforms show its more diversified side. Instagram is a more natural fit for its home and lifestyle videos, for instance. In December, Tastemade UK’s Instagram views overtook its Facebook views for the first time, fetching 24 million and 23.5 million, respectively, according to Tubular Labs. Twitter is also growing quickly, from 550,000 to 4.5 million views between November and December, per Tubular.

Tastemade will share revenue from ads with 90/24 Media. Some of the series will also be sponsored by brands, although the company couldn’t share any details yet, but added there has been an appetite from current and prospective clients for more sports content. Last year, Tastemade UK ran between 80 and 100 branded content campaigns, according to the company. In theory, more diverse content will entice non-endemic brands, previously global clients include Candy Crush Saga and Disney.

Food content is a cluttered market, having a point of difference is critical, for Tastemade, agencies say they have a more premium, higher level of quality, but that’s not always needed for the brief.

“That premium wrapper around their influencers has been something that clients have felt gives them assurance in this space,” said Dan Wood, head of partnerships at Mediacom. “It removes some of the risks in approaching influencers directly.”

But there’s more work to be done is growing Tastemade’s name, particularly beyond food, in media agencies. “They’re doing their best to educate us,” said Wood. “Those in the food retail area are aware of them, and everything they responded to has been good, but the challenge is in scaling that opportunity. Is there enough business? Food and football are both already overserved.”

Growth in the U.K. has been steady: Tastemade UK has 25 full-time staffers and appointed its first managing director in December so the business can carve out a larger focus on the U.K. That could be through longer-form content, commerce or experiential, areas Tastemade is offering for brands although branded content is its most significant revenue stream.

“We’re not doing simplistic short form. We want to grow our relationships with our audience beyond social platforms,” said Salha. “Increasingly, we believe less in three-second views. They’re good for showing scale, but what comes next is more important. Meaningful interactions drive business and more value for clients.”

Image: 90/24 Media via Tastemade UK.


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