Hearst UK is launching a local version of the successful Delish digital brand whose US website has built a powerful business of more than 22m monthly uniques by becoming “the destination for recipes and videos that inspire people to get cooking”. In simple parlance, it’s cooking for the home cook, nothing too fancy or complicated.
Like its US parent, the UK site will cover everything from veganism to the best biscuit for tea ‘dunking’, alongside longer form pieces focusing on the importance of local produce to the environment and making food and cooking fun. And, presumably, as in the US, the UK company will also produce Delish cookbooks and bookazines.
Delish was originally launched in 2008 as a collaboration with Microsoft, which wanted recipe content for MSN. The site then began making recipe content for third parties, starting with other Hearst titles, such as 20-minute dinner recipes for Good Housekeeping and more unorthodox videos for Town & Country on the favourite dishes of famous dead Americans, like John F. Kennedy’s favourite clam chowder.
Since then, collaborations have become a key part of the Delish strategy. Its had hits with alcoholic shots recipes for “Game of Thrones” and “Suicide Squad”; and has created recipes special to Shark Week and “Bob’s Burgers,” plus movie franchises like the Jason Bourne series.
Delish produces an amazing 50 videos per week which has helped the content become heavily shared on social media with scores that consistently beat BuzzFeed’s Tasty and The Food Network. Delish is growing the brand’s YouTube channel which got 4.1m video views in May this year. It’s almost into reality TV. This last summer, Delish introduced two reality TV-style shows, each with three 9-12 minute episodes: “Date My Plate” with a culinary spin on dating competition shows by having amateur chefs preparing a meal for a blind date who is asked to choose between the two; and “Fake It Til You Bake It” with a pastry chef helping wannabe bakers prepare pastries for a panel of judges.
Given the 10 long years since Delish originally launched, its more recent success has been credited to Troy Young who has turbocharged Hearst’s digital development and is now the president of Hearst Magazines.
He says: “When Delish relaunched in 2015, we felt like food media had become too much of an exclusionary experience. It was always about watching other people — more talented people, frankly — make food behind a counter. There was nothing about it that was inviting … like a cool chef party going on that regular people weren’t invited to. We wanted to make a space that was for everyone — people who liked to eat more than they actually liked to cook. We created a place that was as much about delicious, easy recipes as it was about food as a fun lifestyle and cultural phenomenon. We produce nearly 200 recipes a month, but we’re also creating videos about our favorite brands, restaurants, and stores, or celebrities and their eating habits.”
This year, Delish was honoured by Adage’s A-list which said that it was reaching 6.2m millennials each month, due to “its strong social media game (19m Facebook followers, 1m Instagram followers and a new Snapchat show, “WTFood” that’s racked up 16m unique views so far).”
For Hearst UK, Delish could help to transform the fortunes of what is still largely print portfolio. Food is clearly the company’s most important content, evident in Good Housekeeping, its most profitable brand. The London-based company is known to have explored the possibility of investing in Great British Chefs. But the launch of Delish could do wonders for Hearst’s oldest international subsidiary.