By Sahil Patel
With the launch of the second season of its most popular series, “Thirsty For…” digital food network Tastemade is embracing better-than-HD video quality by shooting the show in 4K. It’s the first of several Tastemade-produced shows that will stream in 4K, which offers an image quality that’s four times better than today’s standard HD.
YouTube announced during CES this past January that it planned to make 4K content a more ever-present reality on the site. Tastemade is one of the first creators on the site to take advantage of this advancement in streaming.
“What Food Network did 20 years ago, we want to do for digital,” says Steven Kydd, co-founder of Tastemade. “We think that involves all types of innovation — finding new types of talent, new types of stories to tell, and new formats. Obviously, in this case, it’s also taking advantage of a new type of tech improvement available to us.”
“We feel it’s very important to be early adopters in the space — to future-proof our content a little bit,” adds Jay Holzer, head of production at Tastemade.
Shot at Tastemade’s studios in LA using a Canon 1D-C, “Thirsty For…” spotlights food cultures around the world by showcasing different countries’ traditional drink recipes. It’s the network’s most successful web series to date, having accumulated more than 10 million views across its 50-episode first season last year as well as a James Beard Award nomination (the Oscars of food content) in the Video Webcast, Fixed Location and/or Instructional category.
“If we are going to make a technical leap, we are obviously going to do it with our most popular show,” says Eric Slatkin, creator and director of “Thirsty For…”
But the move to 4K won’t end with “Thirsty For…” Tastemade will soon roll out more content that’s shot in 4K. And eventually, once the company has tested and iterated how it uses the technology, the hope is to bring this capability to shows produced by Tastemade creators for the network.
“Generally we try to be a thought leader, and then we identify people in our network who would be a good representation of that,” says Kydd. “This [‘Thirsty For…’ in 4K] is us getting content out. Now you will see us collect data and optimize. If we do our jobs correctly, we will be able to work with the hundreds of people in our network to help them do that maybe sooner than they could have otherwise. That would be the goal.”
In addition to the 4K rollout, Tastemade plans to make “Thirsty For…” available in six languages — English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese. These “localized versions” of the show will live on existing and upcoming Tastemade channels for markets in Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, and Japan.
New episodes of “Thirsty For…” will roll out on Tastemade’s channel, which currently has more than 290,000 subscribers, every Tuesday.