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Nichework Execs

The Curve, Video’s Super 8, 2014 – It’s hard not to get hooked on the cooking show The Perennial Plate. The digital series features the boyfriend-girlfriend duo Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine bringing the best cuisine from their global treks to serve up stateside in video tutorial recipes, most less than eight minutes long. At first blush, the show might seem like a Food Network for the second screen. But hosted by the YouTube channel Tastemade, it’s far from your typical Food Network fare: Take, for instance, a recent episode on homemade tofu in which Klein is drenched in soybean puree after a straining misstep (refreshing for anyone annoyed by how easy the pro chefs make it all look). Too niche to succeed on network television—the tofu episode was viewed by a mere 51,000 people—The Perennial Plate is thriving online along with other equally obscure Tastemade series like Raw. Vegan. Not Gross; and Hilah’s Texas Kitchen. Total viewership of the online-only “network” is an impressive 13 million visitors a month. Tastemade’s success indicates that content dedicated to hyperspecialized niche topics (from raw vegan cooking to kite surfing to first-time motherhood) is now economically viable through the aggregating power of new digital networks, or nicheworks, as we’re calling them. As the Tastemade cofounder Steven Kydd points out, “There could be, in theory, millions of ‘networks,’ or cable stations that are digital only.” And the demand for this type of content is already strong: 67 percent of Generation Xers and Ys say they’re interested in online-only TV networks that cater to their specific interests.

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