Is the Internet the New Food Television?
Famous English author Douglas Adams wrote in his equally famous (and very imprecisely named) “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy that each civilization (he was referring to “galactic” ones) “tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why, and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question ‘How can we eat?’ the second by the question ‘Why do we eat?’ and the third by the question ‘Where shall we have lunch?'”. Our civilization, even though it’s still far from what we would call “galactic”, is especially connected, making it easier for hungry individuals to order sustenance. Over the last decades, phones have become one of the most important instruments to procure food – initially through voice calls, now through a few taps on the screen. Yet there are still many who like to prepare their own, and turn to outside sources for inspiration, ideas, and recipes. Back in the day, there were numerous dedicated TV channels that did the trick for them. Today, in turn, these have a serious competition, as not even, the top 5 cooking shows on TV can match the following and popularity of some of the most followed and popular YouTube channels.
Perhaps food-related TV will have the same fate as real money gaming. Millions of players all around the world are reluctant to leave home – or their hometown – for a few hands of blackjack or a spin on a slot machine, and turn to online variants like the Red Flush Casino instead. The Red Flush often acts like take-out – players only need to tap their screens a few times, and their favorite games come to them. While the Red Flush’s “flavor” is not as intense as going out for a night at the games, the convenience of playing there is convincing enough to keep players returning for more. Not to mention the bonuses – the Red Flush gives players more benefits than McDonald’s ever will.
Slowly but steadily, YouTube channels are taking over dedicated cooking TV channels when it comes to audiences. The following of Jamie Oliver, the “naked chef” who has TV to thank for his world fame, has a YouTube following the size of a smaller country (close to 3 million at the time this article is penned), and his nemesis, Gordon Ramsay, has even more. Yet the number of YouTube chefs is far higher – they range from brilliant innovators like Heston Blumenthal, amazing chefs like Bruno Albouze, and Guy Fieri, and hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of professionals and amateurs sharing their recipes and tricks on a daily basis. And the best part is that viewers are in control of the content they watch and don’t have to keep an eye on the TV guide to see what’s next.
In time, the internet will kill dedicated food channels. Hopefully, it will lead to more people finding their passion for cooking, and perhaps even reducing food waste in the long run.