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Los Angeles-based online video startup Tastemade wants to become the digital Food Network, and it just got another major cash injection to make that happen: Tastemade raised a $25 million Series C from Scripps Networks Interactive and Liberty Media, with existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Raine Ventures and Comcast (S CMCSK) Ventures also chipping in, bringing the total amount raised to date to $40 million. And to reach the other half of the mobile world, Tastemade is also launching its app on Android.
The launch of the Android app, which will exclusively available on Samsung phones for the first three months, comes after Tastemade debuted an iPhone app a little less than a year ago. The company’s mobile apps allow food bloggers and other foodies to record brief restaurant video reviews that are spiced up with thematic background music and a basic script that turns rants and raves into professional-looking clips.
Tastemade is also producing professional shows around food in its own studio, which are being distributed on Hulu, YouTube and elsewhere. And it operates what’s known to YouTube video publishers as a multi-channel network, helping producers of food-related content to find audiences and monetize their videos on YouTube. With that network, Tastemade now reaches 18 million monthly active users who view 100 million videos a month. “We continue to have a lot of success on YouTube,” said Tastemade co-founder Larry Fitzgibbon during an interview earlier this week.
I asked Fitzgibbon if one of those three areas will eventually become Tastemade’s core business, but he said that all of them are essential, arguing that if you want to build a modern media company, you need all of it: original content production, distribution and audience engagement.
And with technology advancing, the line between audience and creators is getting increasingly blurry. Fitzgibbon told me that his company has started to mine content produced with Tastemade’s apps for talent that could produce longer and more professional content. And even those short clips are starting to look better: “You can now shoot in really high-quality HD,” with ordinary camera phones, said Fitzgibbon, adding: “It looks beautiful on a TV.”