Video: How to Build a Modern Media Company

Jay Holzer, Head of Production at Tastemade.com, describes how the company built its media strategy on the YouTube platform according to what he describes as the three pillars of a modern media company--studio, community, and platform--in this excerpt from his presentation at Streaming Media West.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Jay Holzer: Armed with a great initial distribution platform like YouTube, we started building Tastemade in the model of what we believed a modern media company looked like, one that had a content studio, a community of creators and fans, and a platform to help us be smart about how we thought about distribution and data. Let's dive into the studio part.

One of the first things we did at Tastemade was we built out a 7,000 square foot soundstage in Santa Monica. It seemed kind of excessive at the time for making digital video, but it's been an investment that's really paid off. Here, we had a spot where we could create content every single day of the week. The content we've created has won major awards and has kind of been the backbone of our growth with the company. Secondly, we started building out a community of creators that we refer to as our tastemakers across the globe. These creators were our production partners, our talent, and eventually a lot of them became our business partners.

Third, we had to think really hard about how the content landscape was changing. We all hear a lot about how the behavior of the millennial group is changing. They don't watch TV. They're obsessed with their phones. They get together in groups and pose for generic photos like this one. The truth is, many millennials never got cable and likely never will. An overwhelming number of them use their phones for all media consumption, so the solution had to be new content native to mobile. What does that mean? Well, it means content that looks like this. We embraced social video, global social distribution, and the results have been transformative. We now reach two billion monthly views, 100 million monthly active users, and log almost 2,000 years of watch time in a month alone. How did we go about re-imaging food video for a new digital audience? I always like to tell this anecdote from the early days of Tastemade. One of our founders was meeting with the producer from one of the many cable food shows who took it upon himself to give us his one big piece of advice to these guys starting out in food media: "Make sure you spend a lot of time perfecting." The most the important part of any food video--the tasting.

It was this producer's opinion that the success of your show lived or died by how well the host could describe the flavors of the dish. If no one knows what it tastes like, no one will want to make it, no one will tune back in. Makes a lot of sense. It's the payoff of the content. You want to make sure that it's big and it's satisfying. But being digital guys, we had access to sets of data that traditional broadcasters would never be able to get their hands on. When we started looking into our audience retention graphs and cooking shows, we found something really interesting happens to your audience when the host tastes the food, your traffic literally falls off of the cliff. Digital audiences are inherently distracted and fundamentally different from those watching TV. They took that signal of food going into mouth as their cue to find something else to watch. We started calling the phenomenon the bite cliff and used the philosophy of making sure that the data backs up our instincts all the time on every bit of content development we do going forward.

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