Tastemade’s Oren Katzeff on moving beyond food and into lifestyle categories

It’s hard to spend time on Facebook these days without encountering disembodied hands assembling food. Food has never been more popular as video programming, and Tastemade has benefited to the tune of 2 billion video views per month and reaching 200 million people.

But 5-year-old Tastemade doesn’t want to stop with food. Oren Katzeff, Tastemade’s head of programming, said the company is already expanding into travel and lifestyle. “The ‘taste’ is not just a taste for food but a taste for anything you’re passionate about,” he said on this week’s Digiday Podcast. “It could be food, travel or home design.”

Tastemade aims to capture ‘zest for life’
“There was this feeling we could really connect the world through food, and create content that really capitalizes on that zest for life you have when you think of those memorable moments in your life. That’s the feeling we try to capture.”

Watch time is as important as views
“If somebody watches three or five seconds of a Tastemade video and we get a view for that, that’s a hollow view; that’s one we’re not excited about. We want to create engaging content that people continue to watch. Watch time ends up becoming a more important metric rather than a flat-out view count.”

Facebook’s mid-roll ads are ‘encouraging’
“It’s early days. We’ve been encouraged by what we’ve seen so far. We took it to heart. We went all-in on production and shifted a lot of our formats to be [90-plus seconds] to extend the watch time. We tested a ton of formats. For some, there was a lot of drop-off, so we stopped doing them. We do have formats where people are watching videos all the way through.”

Snapchat Discover is like having a daily show
“Snapchat Discover is like having a new show every day. It’s almost like we have 14-16 sketches every single day. We’re thinking how we weave all of them into a story for that day. That will be a mix of articles, video and illustration. It’s a mix and almost like its own show every single day.”

Tastemade has gone from 50,000 Instagram followers to 5 million in a year
“We’ve been doing video on Instagram from day one. Instagram is growing rapidly, and our audience is growing rapidly as well.”

Some ‘pivots to video’ are half-hearted
“You see these sites with a video tab, as if it’s something separate. For us, it’s core to what we do. If you treat the pivot to video as something you have to do, it’s not going to do very well.”


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