Genius Kitchen: Scripps Lifestyle Studios' New Recipe for Success

GeniusKitchen.com, which went live on September 19, will be followed by additional content for connected devices (Apple, Android, Amazon, Roku), Pluto TV, YouTube, mobile apps and social platforms in the coming months. The platform will leverage both new content and classic favorites, but with a thorough re-imagining of how that content is delivered and consumed. The goal is to surprise and delight consumers who grew up in an on-demand world with recipe videos, how-tos, creative cooking tips, and social-first content designed to go viral. 

Scripps Lifestyle Studios is the digital video division of Scripps Networks Interactive, already home to some of the biggest brands in food content, including Food Network and Cooking Channel. By adding Genius Kitchen to the mix Scripps hopes to broaden its reach, converting young adults into lifelong fans of its lifestyle content. Born into a digital world, this on-demand generation expects access to the content they want, when and how they want it. 

Users will find Genius Kitchen wherever they go, with content customized for different platforms: more Insta images, more video, a deep focus on how-tos, and fresh weekly on-demand content. According to Vikki Neil, General Manager of Scripps Lifestyle Studios, the ultimate goal is to build a positive user experience. "You will see a lot more focus on daily publishing and short videos for YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. We will also debut some of our longer videos that are more like a show experience on some of these social platforms to test the audience's appetite for longer formats and entertainment-based video." And mobile is front and center. "Everything has been designed for mobile throughout this experience, and that includes our recipe and video strategy. We're fully aware that lots of consumption happens on the go, and being able to serve a recipe or an entertaining video in a short bite is a smart strategy for any food experience."

Genius Kitchen launched with over 100 hours of video content (50-70% of which is new) and more than 500,000 recipes. One highlight is GK Now, a weekly mash-up of food trends and pop culture co-hosted by comedic YouTube personalities Akilah Hughes and Mike Lockyer (pictured at top). "Akilah is fun and energetic and brings a specific, likeable approach to GK Now," said Neil.  "We intentionally targeted a host who our guests would love. Mike and Akilah bring a unique point of view that is reflective of real people and their relationship with others who are passionate about food. Chefs and experts are a key part of what we do for this show, but GK Now is also about the pop culture aspects of food and life and how they intersect; Akilah and Mike are authentic personalities viewers can relate to." It's just the latest example of Scripps canvassing digital platforms for new talent. Hannah Hart, host of Food Network's I Hart Food built her following on YouTube, and the network's Ree Drummond came to their attention thanks to her popular cooking and lifestyle blog.

The concept for Genius Kitchen grew out of vast amounts of research about what type of content have resonated most with younger users. The key is connection, Neil explained: "With Genius Kitchen we took a 360-degree view of how we can connect with that selective audience, super-serving users with something made for and tailored to them. We're trying to satiate their desire to spend more time doing, and being entertained by, food content." One genius of Genius Kitchen is that it allows users engaging with video to have recipes sent to their devices… so they're moving from passively watching to gaining useful, valuable and actionable information.

Asked about how advertisers can integrate with Genius Kitchen, Neil replied, "Our appetite for experimentation is at an all-time high." Expect complete solutions for brands with integration into every aspect of the story. Content for all platforms is being crafted in partnership with clients to help them develop enduring relationships with Genius Kitchen's fans.

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Ingrid Laub

Ingrid Laub has been crafting marketplace perceptions for media companies since helping launch CNBC and MSNBC. She spent a decade at NBC Cable developing campaigns to increase distribution, ad sales and viewership. As Partner, Executive Account Director... read more