iFood.tv lands on connected TVs, expands mobile strategy

iFood TV screen shot

After years of building up a following on for its instructional cooking videos online, iFood.tv is making the move to both bigger and smaller screens. This week, it plans to launch apps for the Boxee, Google and Yahoo connected TV platforms – joining its recent launches over Roku and Boxee. Last week it launched its first Android app.

Five years after launch, iFood.tv has built up a sizable library of 25,000 cooking and recipe videos supplied by partners and the site’s own users, who now account for 4 million unique viewers a month. iFood.tv has tried to set itself apart from the big food and cooking brands that rule cable TV by approaching food content as educational rather entertainment, said company co-founder Vikrant Mathur. iFood.tv wants people to come to its site to learn how to poach an egg or whisk cream into soft peaks, rather than watch pre-programmed cooking shows.

But now the cooking site appears ready to step onto the Food Network’s and the Cooking Channel’s turf, moving from the kitchen and office into the living room where entertainment reigns. iFood.tv is making its content more coach-potato friendly by curating its video library and creating its own ‘channels’ of content – for instance channels devoted to wine or Mexican food. But Mathur said the connected TV apps are still aimed at iFood.tv’s core viewers. While some viewers may click on the wine channel, sit back and take a tour of a winery, many more will be looking for ideas about how to pair wines with their coming meals.

“The connected TV space is fundamentally changing the way people are consuming media,” Mathur said. “Long-tail content is being accentuated.”

But with iFood.tv’s second prong of attack, mobile, it hopes to zero in on the practical side of cooking in the kitchen. Its recently updated iPhone and new Android apps don’t just allow users to access video, but to store favorite recipes in a video recipe box and keep a picture diary of dishes cooked. Mathur said iFood.tv is very conscious of the growing trend of people using their phones and tablets as electronic recipe books and digital kitchen assistants. Nearly 10 percent of iFood.tv’s video and recipe views come from iOS and Android devices, either from the iPhone app or from mobile browsers. It plans to tap further into that trend with an iPad app in coming months.

To that end, iFood.tv is expanding the content and tools on the site and apps beyond video. It has 150,000 text recipes on site to complement its video library, and it’s begun embedding ingredients and instructions directly into each. The idea is that users will watch the videos while in the kitchen, pausing the stream to view ingredient lists and measurements as they cook. Eventually iFood.tv plans to take the channels it has built for connected TV and recreate them as apps for tablets and smartphones.

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