Content excellence

the ambition

Create a market-leading multi-platform publishing operation

the context

Channel 4 has an unrivalled slate of TV food programming, boasting long-standing relationships with world-famous names such as Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal.

We launched Channel 4 Food online in 2007 and quickly established it as the No1 commercial site in the sector. But as Google, Facebook and Twitter tear up the rulebook for traditional media business models, how do we keep 4Food relevant and viable?

our strategy

The success of Channel 4 Food has always been built on an understanding of the different ways consumers interact with broadcast TV and digital content.

We built the 4Food website by focusing on everyday utility – meeting the everyday food needs of the audience by developing a highly optimised database of 6,000 original recipes.

Extending success into social media meant rethinking the entire editorial structure, to create and curate content in real time while TV shows are on air. Our team is now set up to interact with the audience in real time, in the evening and at the weekend, on the platforms where we know they love to talk about food and TV.

the content

Since the launch of the site in 2007, our team has created content to complement Channel 4’s award-winning TV programmes: exclusive, talent-fronted video cooking guides, topical features and collaborative projects with users and bloggers.

We’ve built – with the help of chefs, publishers, restaurateurs and bloggers – a database of 6,000 recipes. Exclusive access to Channel 4 luminaries, including Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, helps to differentiate 4Food content in a crowded market, and a carefully crafted SEO strategy gives our content massive reach.

In addition to interviews, features, cookery tips and behind-the-scenes access, we create at least three pieces of original video content each month. To keep our content fresh, we use both established cookery writers and up-and-coming talent emerging from blogs and social media platforms. We’ve incorporated 4oD (Channel 4’s on-demand player) into the 4Food site, allowing users to move seamlessly between recipes, how-to videos and features.

Channel 4 Food Infographic

And we’ve helped to pioneer Channel 4’s use of social media platforms, using Facebook and Twitter to establish Come Dine With Me as a cult phenomenon, building relationships with bloggers in the burgeoning food community, and transforming our working practices to meet the demands of a real-time digital world.

the results

Channel 4 Food is the broadcaster’s most successful digital property, and is the largest commercial food and drink website in the UK. The site attracts advertising from blue-chip clients, including Diageo, Unilever and P&G.

We’ve nurtured vibrant 4Food communities across multiple social platforms. We manage the wildly successful Come Dine With Me Facebook group, which has more than one million followers. Our YouTube channel has served more than seven million unique video views, and our audience on Twitter exceeds 25,000 followers.

The success of the website has been recognised with a host of industry awards.