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Discovery to launch live and on-demand cooking classes via new streaming app

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By Reuters

By Helen Coster

(Reuters) – While Netflix Inc <NFLX.O>, Walt Disney Co <DIS.N> and other media companies battle for control of the living room, Discovery Inc <DISCA.O> is doubling down on the kitchen.

Discovery on Wednesday said it was launching a new service in October, Food Network Kitchen, that will offer live and on-demand cooking classes on a Food Network streaming app in the United States.

The service, which will feature Food Network chefs such as Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray, will have a free, ad-supported version and an ad-free subscription service costing $7 per month or $60 per year.

The service is part of Discovery’s strategy to target viewers who are passionate about specific subjects like food, nature and home — rather than go after the widest possible audience and compete head-on with other streaming video platforms.

“Those are general entertainment services and they’re never going to have enough content,” said Discovery Chief Executive Office David Zaslav. “They’re fighting over that pie. This is not an entertainment product.”

Discovery struck a partnership with Inc <AMZN.O>, which built Food Network Kitchen into its Fire TV streaming device, and Alexa voice service and will be marketing the app on its website.

Zaslav, who described the app as a “Peloton of food” — referring to the stationary bike exercise company that offers live and on-demand classes — said Discovery pitched Amazon on the service over a year ago. The head of Discovery’s direct-to-consumer business, Peter Faricy, ran Amazon Marketplace before joining Discovery last September.

Discovery plans to publish lists of ingredients that viewers will need for each class, and make them available to order on Amazon Fresh, Peapod and Instacart. The company will take a cut of the sale of those ingredients, and eventually from the sale of higher-margin cooking equipment.

The app is part of Discovery’s estimated $300 million (£241.4 million) to $400 million 2019 investment in direct-to-consumer services, which includes four other subscription video platforms that stream automotive, sports and other programming.

(Reporting by Helen Coster; Editing by Tom Brown)