Scripps Kicks Off Online Series’ with “Eat This”

E.W. Scripps’ FoodNetwork.com has developed an original 13-part short video series for the Web featuring quirky, youth-oriented content. Microsoft’s Windows XP brand is currently the sole sponsor, but the company hopes to sign more advertisers before “Eat This With Dave Lieberman” debuts November 21.

The 3- to 5-minute broadband shorts show the 25-year-old chef traveling to five different cities to chronicle food crazes. Though Scripps has been quite innovative with video on the Web, notably with its Living.com broadband portal, this is the first time the company has shot video specifically for a multi-part online series. The Food Network will leverage its cable network, promoting the broadband series on air with :60 excerpts.

The main content for “Eat This” will appear in a video window built into a page on the show’s microsite, but the program will occasionally pause to allow users to access additional video information about topics explored in the program.

Doug Parker, creative director of Scripps Networks Interactive and creator of the show, gives an example of a scene in which Lieberman is on a farm talking about American artisinal cheeses. After the segment finishes, the show pauses, allowing the viewer to either continue with the main content or click on another video to learn more about the farm.

“You can do that four times in one episode,” said Parker. “We’re calling them ‘episode detail videos’. You’re controlling the viewing experience.”

The site will also feature related content, such as recipes, travel information and photo galleries, alongside the main video feature.

Ad units associated with the show include what Scripps calls a “pre-stitial,” which takes up the whole page as a user navigates onto the “Eat This” site. Scripps is also selling pre-roll video ads and the opportunity to have a brand’s logo featured alongside the video content.

Scripps calls this the “kick-off” for the company’s launch into series programming via broadband. The “Eat This” content will also be syndicated to MSN via a deal with the portal. Parker says the company is also looking into video podcasting to distribute the content via iTunes.

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