The YouTube network Tastemade, sometimes considered a budding heir to cable TV’s Food Network, is getting a lot closer to the channel with a $25 million investment from Food Network parent Scripps Networks as well as Liberty Media and Comcast’s venture capital arm. Executives plan to use the funds to make content that marketers will sponsor and to add engineering talent.
Tastemade began last year as a YouTube network that collected clips of people cooking and talking about food, growing to attract some 18 million unique viewers every month, by Tastemade’s count. Its core programming remains largely the same, but Tastemade is also increasingly adding more TV-esque (and brand-friendly) fare like “Thirsty For,” a series that showcases drink recipes from around the world and was nominated for a James Beard Award.
The new funding could be a called a “TV round,” given its sources, but Tastemade co-founder Larry Fitzgibbon said the company is already TV in a sense, with web video increasingly playing on smart TVs and TV audiences increasingly looking online. The question is whether and when TV ad budgets follow.
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