Conception and Development
The Food Network (legally the Television Food Network, GP) was launched on Thanksgiving weekend 1993 in New York, NY as a channel that specialized in programs about cooking, hospitality, food, restaurants, and general kitchen culture. In 1996, it was purchased by the A.H. Belo Corporatio,
In 1997, the E.W. Scripps Company purchased a majority share, and has since bought out every minority shareholder except for Tribune Co., which maintains a 31% share of the estimated $1 billion channel. Scripps Networks Interactive, a an offshoot of E.W. Scripps Co., now has control of the channel along with HGTV and several other home-centered networks, and broadcasts to 99 million television household worldwide. This number is expected to rise, however, since Food Network has expanded to both the United Kingdom and Asia within the past year.
The Food Network and connected HGTV have evolved considerably over the last decade to maintain consistently high Nielsen ratings in cable, while Food Network in particular has grown considerably in viewer base and popularity over the past five years. However, pricing is still being negotiated for the worth of these growing channels, and controversy has arisen as a result, particularly after New York's Cablevision dropped the Food Network in a dipute last year over the channel's current price of 25 cents per subscriber, which Scripp's officials find to be an undervalued price.
Currently Food Network is expanding to include a website, a magazine, and a videogame for Wii, where viewers can buy merchandise or else more intereactively interface with the Food Network brand.
Ownership and Food Network Brand
Scripps Interactive’s motif focuses largely on lifestyle-applicable content, Food Network falling into their Lifestyle Media portfolio, along with TV channels HGTV, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, and Travel Channel. With emphasis on daily living, SNI provides online and print accompaniments to the Food Network as well, through foodnetwork.com and Food Network Magazine. Further partnerships include purchasing featured kitchen utensils etc. on websites affiliated with the Scripps ownership, such as BizRate and Shopzilla (http://www.FoodNetwork.com/home/about-foodnetworkcom/index.html). The Food Network as defined by SNI hopes to “connect power and joy to food… to [be a leader] in teaching, inspiring, and empowering through its talent and expertise.” “The network is committed to exploring new and different ways to approach food - through pop culture, competition, adventure, and travel – while also expanding its repertoire of technique-based information” (http://www.scrippsnetworksinteractive.com/our-brands/food-network). This plays into the overarching theme of relating to the everyday life while also providing the entertainment and risk excitement as well.
Tribune Company holds investment in the Food Network as well. Tribune looks for equities that have promising futures in media future, and those that expand their business into new areas (http://www.tribune.com/about/values.html). The Food Network has indeed filled these requirements. Its headquarters are stationed in New York City and offices are located in various cities scattered across the country, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Knoxville (http://www.FoodNetwork.com/home/about-foodnetworkcom/index.html). International audiences can view the Food Network as well screening in countries including Canada, Australia, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Monaco, Andorra, Africa, France, and the French-speaking territories in the Caribbean and Polynesia (http://www.FoodNetwork.com/home/about-foodnetworkcom/index.html).
Via these two corporations, the Food Network is distributed to more than 96 million households, while its website is hit over seven million times per month (http://www.FoodNetwork.com/home/about-foodnetworkcom/index.html).
In these homes, the Food Network is programmed in two segments: daytime coverage entitled “Food in the Kitchen”, and nighttime coverage known cleverly as “Food Network Nighttime”. Daytime shows usually focus on instructional cooking programs, while nighttime features the entertainment, competitive, reality shows. Both areas of programming fill the informative lifestyle arena, and the exciting entertainment sphere. In this way, the Food Network ensures its longevity in its audience’s interest by providing both the practical and the fantastical aspects of good television.
- Monk, Dan. Business Courier of Cincinnati. "Tribune's Food Network stake has Scripps' belly growling" April 4, 2008. http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2008/04/07/tidbits1.html
- Owl Staff. Owl Beta. "A History of the Food Network" December 7, 2009. http://www.owl.com/article/2009/12/07/a-history-of-the-food-network
- Schroeder, Eric. Food Business News. "Food Network to launch in international markets" November 4, 2009. http://www.foodbusinessnews.net (Registration required to view entire article.)
- Scripp's Network. "Food Network, HGTV Enlist Viewers' Help To Keep Popular Lifestyle Networks on Cablevision" January 1, 2010. http://www.scrippsnetworks.com/newsitem.aspx?id=391
- Nelson, Randy. Joystiq. "Food Network: Cook or Be Cooked" April 30, 2009. http://www.joystiq.com/2009/04/30/joystiq-impressions-food-network-cook-or-be-cooked/