Commercialising content online (read: charging for content) has always been an opportunity for publishers and something that’s flourished in the academic scene for some time. However, commercialising online content for consumers has always been a bit more difficult. Over at Hardie Grant Publishing we’re about to try something we think is going to change that. Let me introduce you to Cooked.
We’re developing a consumer-facing website to house every recipe from pretty much every cookbook we’ve ever published. And now we are working with Quadrille we will be investigating the possibility of including appropriate titles from their incredibly strong range. We're also exploring working with other content partners.
Think about Cooked as a kind of Spotify for recipes. The idea is that any consumer can get a free trial and then convert that trial account into a paid, premium subscription and access a vast library of complete cookbooks at any time, for a small fee. The site is a premium product aimed at the serious foodie and if you’d pay for one cookery book in a year, the subscription price – giving you access to every recipe from all books in the site – will seem like peanuts.
Cooked will be fully responsive across all devices and screen sizes, allowing the user to transport their library with them at all times. Why build a shopping list function when you can take your whole recipe collection to the supermarket? At its core Cooked will have a state of the art live search unlike any search on any recipe site in the world ensuring that users can discover new books, authors and recipes quickly and easily. And it’s packed full of other functionality that we believe will deliver a world-class user experience.
So aside from the subscription model, how is it commercial? We have an in-house advertising sales team already signing up advertisers to a range of activity including contextual display advertising, geo-targeted event listings, featured product packages, email advertising and a range of commercial social media options. By ensuring advertising standards are high and relevancy and quality are preserved as key pillars of the commercialisation of the site, we believe advertising can in fact enhance the user’s experience.
The question is, will this work? With newspapers going behind paywalls at lightning speed, more and more people signing up to Amazon Prime and Spotify’s subscription model flourishing, we believe there has never been a better time to release Cooked. We’re four weeks into the pre-launch marketing and we’re already seeing fabulous consumer feedback with likes on Facebook growing at over 550 per day and thousands of people per week signing up to get a launch invitation. But ultimately it will be content that brings success – we as publishers know that our content is trusted, tested and reliable, and our authors are known, reputable and admired, and that’s the difference between us and many of our free competitors.
Cooked is launching first in Australia on www.cooked.com.au and will follow in the UK on www.cooked.co.uk. If you are a publisher of food content and recipe books and are interested in working with us I’d love to hear from you.