How BuzzFeed’s Tasty Conquered Online Food


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No one knows who invented the overhead food video. Like image-macro memes or Slender Man, it most likely emerged in some primordial message-board swamp. But like everything else online, the format has since been refined, professionalized and monetized, and today most of these clips are produced on media assembly lines in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and London by a single entity: Tasty, a division of BuzzFeed that has turned the overhead food video into a hypergrowth business.

…BuzzFeed is obsessive about learning from past successes, and once it finds a theme or format that hits, it tends to repeat it until it’s dead. That’s why you’ll see a lot of videos featuring cheese, steak, bacon and pasta, some of the most popular ingredients. And it’s why Tasty videos always feature a money shot.

“Cheese pulls and gooey chocolate are so satisfying to watch, and those frames almost make you gasp out loud because they look so good,” Ms. King said. “We try to create those moments in every video, whether it’s an indulgent ingredient like cheese, or a fun way to use up leftovers, or cooking food in a way you haven’t seen.”

A Killing. A Pointed Gun. And Two Black Lives, Witnessing.

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…Ms. Reynolds’s video is still stunning, not simply for its raw images. It takes us inside a moment of private horror and public witness, showing how the ubiquitous technology of video can be empowering yet leave the viewer feeling helpless.

…Watching, by itself, is a kind of paralysis. We can see this thing — but we’ve seen so many tragedies like it by now, and seeing hasn’t kept them from happening again and again.

Witnessing, on the other hand — as an affirmative act, like Ms. Reynolds’s — can make a difference. Without video, this kind of shooting might be an item in a local police blotter rather than national news. In the shooting of Mr. Sterling, the police said that the officers’ body cameras had been dislodged, but private-citizen video provided a record, and the Justice Department opened an investigation.

Witnessing spurred the Black Lives Matter movement. After the video of Mr. Castile’s shooting appeared, people protested in the streets and gathered online to commiserate and to share advice on how to record encounters with the police.

But for all of video’s power to bring us directly into a moment, it can’t help but remind us of the gulf between virtual and physical presence, as Ms. Reynolds’s livecast does in its last wrenching minute.

Lights, Camera, We’re Having a Baby!

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When Danielle and Jon Murray of Raleigh, N.C., learned they were having their first child five years ago, they were too embarrassed to tell their friends and family… When she became pregnant with their second child, the couple, by then married, hosted a gender-reveal party. With their third child, they posted a photo on Facebook. But when she got pregnant for a fourth time last year, Mr. Murray, a videographer, wrote a parody of the electronic hit “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon and filmed a three-and-a-half-minute video… To date, the video has garnered nearly 1.8 million views.

Consider the modern couple who have just learned they’re having a baby. How should they inform their friends and family? Write a note? So 1950s. Place a call? So 1970s. Send a mass email? So 1990s.


These days, when couples want to let their loved ones know they’re having a child, they often whip out their cellphones, shoot a video and post it on social media. Couples are putting their babies’ names in lights even before their babies have names.


Pregnancy announcement videos have become so popular they’re becoming businesses all their own, with YouTube compilations, Pinterest pages and morning television segments.


Millennials Eat Up YouTube Food Videos

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Whether consumers are looking for a flatbread recipe or watching their favorite foodie celebrity, food is thriving on YouTube. New research from Millward Brown Digital, Firefly, and Google delves into how YouTube is fueling the foodie fan culture, with insights into the audiences who devour food videos. They’re tuning in to watch videos that inspire, educate, or entertain. They’re loyal, passionate, and highly engaged, powering a 280% growth in food channel subscriptions over the past year.


Why We Love To Feast Our Eyes On Food Porn

Excerpt from this article on OgilvyDO:

If you’ve spent any great deal of time on Facebook lately, you will have seen a growing number of short, colourful recipe videos from the likes of Tastemade and BuzzFeed’s Tasty. Rarely longer than 90 seconds, these clips have a hypnotic quality which has captured the attention of millions — and set their mouths watering.

The prevalence of this kind of content isn’t surprising; one of the reasons #foodporn photography has become so popular is that there is something just altogether satisfying about seeing a perfectly arranged plate. Video channels like Tasty and Tastemade have simply taken this one step further, condensing all of the best bits of cooking shows into short, snackable videos.

“The clips are akin to ASMR videos,” says The Cut’s Dayna Evans. “They tap into the pleasure centre of my brain with their mesmerising simplicity, lack of fussiness, and quick pace. They make cooking seem painless, sedative. In a sea of free-flowing content hitting my already-scattered brain (often without my asking), Tasty videos act as calming one-minute meditations.”

For girls, YouTube is an addictive sinkhole. Trust me, I know …

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To the average teenager, YouTube is not just about cat videos (although they are the most fun to watch), it is also about YouTubers. Usually, the life of every teenager involves one YouTuber or another. They are a new form of celebrity. They include figures such as Tyler Oakley, a huge personality on the site and an LGBT phenomenon, PewDiePie, a dedicated gamer (with 40 million followers), or, possibly my favourite, Dan and Phil, a duo who play video games, bake and share their most embarrassing experiences with the world.

We are drawn in by the avalanche of content they create, but also by the lives of the YouTubers themselves. For phangirls like me, the problem is that watching these YouTubers tricks our minds into thinking that we are interacting with other people.

I Was Internet-Famous

Excerpt from this article that offers a sometimes cautionary, sometimes optimistic “Where are they now?” update on some Internet Famous viral favourites (Chocolate Rain, Leave Britney Alone, Miss South Carolina Teen, and more):

Harry [Charlie bit him in the viral video]: [Without the video] I probably wouldn’t be going to the school I go to.

Howard (their dad): All four boys go to a nice school, which we pay for. What the video has done for us is redefine normal. Coming home from school and having an interview on Skype is normal.

Harry: We go to America sometimes; we go to London.

Howard: We view everything with YouTube as a hobby. Life comes first, but one weekend we might be filming a commercial. People know about you when you meet them —

Charlie: That’s scary.

Howard: So if someone who’s seen one of those comes up and says, “I saw you skiing,” that must feel a little strange.

Charlie: Yeah. It feels like they’re spying.

Howard: Ha — is that really what you mean? They’re intruding on your life?

Charlie: Yeah.

Howard: Okay. We’ve never had this discussion before. You know, there’s a set of people who take it as a badge of honor to get bitten by Charlie.

Charlie: And then they scream!

Howard: We have an unwritten rule. If someone asks to be bitten, Charlie gets to bite however hard he wants to.

Why YouTube is the new children’s TV… and why it matters

Little Baby Bum has helped YouTube become even more popular with kids.

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The phrase “digital babysitter” crops up regularly in comments about children and YouTube. It’s often framed as a criticism of parents: leaving their children in the corner of a room with an iPad doing the parenting.

In some ways, this argument doesn’t ring true. First, even an hour spent watching YouTube leaves plenty of hours in the day for reading books, riding bikes, drawing and generally getting the kind of face-to-face parental attention that’s so important for children.

Second, because YouTube doesn’t have to be something a child does alone: co-viewing can be a fun activity for them to share with their parent. And thirdly: sometimes parents just need to get stuff done. YouTube, like television, can buy the short bursts of time that a parent or carer needs to keep things running. But also like television, it needs boundaries


How Moms Use YouTube Videos: New Trends and Insights

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With a world of information at our fingertips, moms are going online with questions big and small. To better understand what this looks like for moms, and how online video fits into their lives and decision-making process, we partnered with TNS and Ipsos and surveyed self-identifying moms, ages 18-54, who watch videos online. We found that 83% of moms search for answers to their questions online. And of those, three in five turn to online video in particular.

We know that two of the main reasons moms use YouTube are for how-to and DIY ideas. As moms turn to YouTube more and more, brands have a great opportunity: to be there and provide useful content when moms are looking for help, product know-how, or even ideas.

From Yum to Yuck

Illustration by Erik Carter. Photographs by Sung Won Yoon

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Earlier this year, a video called ‘‘Korean Girls Taste American Snacks’’ appeared online. It featured the reactions of young women as they sampled popular American junk food like Pop-Tarts and s’mores-flavored Goldfish crackers. …

But it wasn’t a one-hit wonder, or a fluke — the video is part of a larger trend of culinary voyeurism that involves coaxing unsuspecting volunteers into trying unfamiliar food items and then filming their bewilderment.

…These videos are the descendants of a much older food meme in which toddlers are recorded tasting something intense for the first time — lemons, say — so we can witness their comically grimacing faces. It appears that there’s a universal appeal in watching someone encounter something entirely new and strange, especially if the viewer is already intimately familiar with that experience. Perhaps that’s because this Internet phenomenon works best when it takes our mundane rituals out of their usual context and turns them into an intoxicating spectator sport.