With FLN's distribution base of 55 million households, the decision provides the new Cooking Channel with the potential for significant reach when it launches in the third quarter of 2010.
"We've seen an explosion of interest in food and cooking in America," said Kenneth W. Lowe, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Scripps Networks Interactive. "Food, as a television programming category, has grown significantly, creating a highly promising business opportunity for new programming and related ventures that will, in effect, super-serve the vast number of media consumers who are passionate about food and cooking."
The new Cooking Channel will be a 24-hour network that caters to avid food lovers by focusing on food information and instructional cooking programming. Offered in both standard and high definition, the new network will launch with a VOD offering and a fully interactive Internet and broadband platform as it delivers more content focused on baking, ethnic cuisine, wine and spirits, healthy and vegetarian cooking and kids' foods.
"Food Network has driven the tremendous interest and growth in this programming genre, appealing to general entertainment fans while continuing to serve cooking and food lovers," Lowe said. "But, with only 24 hours in a day, we aren't taking advantage of the market's full potential. We see considerably more consumer demand for food programming that we believe the Cooking Channel will fulfill."
While instructional cooking will be one of the main ingredients of the new Cooking Channel, the network also will explore food origins, culture and history as part of the programming mix.
"The idea is to raise your food IQ, making our viewers better cooks and a little smarter about food," said John Lansing, executive vice president of Scripps Networks Interactive and president of the company's Knoxville-based Scripps Networks operating division. "This isn't new territory for us. We've done this in the home category with HGTV, the dominant brand in the home category, and DIY Network, one of the most successful digital networks on television and the go-to resource for how-to home projects. We believe the Cooking Channel will serve some very unique interests and needs of a highly engaged audience."
The primetime lineup of the Cooking Channel will feature original new shows hosted by fresh, new talent as well as some of the most familiar faces in the food genre. Daytime programming on the new network will balance new cooking shows with food-oriented content from the extensive Scripps Networks library. The Cooking Channel also will incorporate some of the more popular FLN shows that relate to food and cooking.
The company is in discussions with its distribution partners about the rebranding of FLN as the new Cooking Channel.
The new network will operate out of Scripps Networks studios in New York City's food-centric Chelsea Market. The company expects to name a programming executive to focus exclusively on the Cooking Channel by the end of the current year.
"The time has come for us to have our cake and eat it, too," said Lansing. "With a single-minded and distinct focus on serving those passionate about food and cooking, the new Cooking Channel will appeal to a very broad audience. In the meantime, Food Network can continue its march toward growing the next generation of 'foodies' with energetic, entertainment-oriented content that's attracting record numbers of younger media consumers to the category."
About Scripps Networks Interactive
Scripps Networks Interactive is one of the leading developers of lifestyle-oriented content for television and the Internet, where on-air programming is complemented with online video, social media areas and e-commerce components on companion Web sites and broadband vertical channels. The company's media portfolio includes: Lifestyle Media, with popular lifestyle television and Internet brands HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living Network (FLN) and country music network Great American Country; and Interactive Services, with leading online search and comparison shopping services BizRate and Shopzilla.
If you are a member of the media, please log on to the Scripps Networks Online Media Center (http://newsroom.scrippsnetworks.com) for the latest brand news, useful photos and graphics, detailed programming information, contacts and current research. Investor Relations information including press releases, SEC filings and financial reports, can be found at the company's corporate Web site, http://www.scrippsnetworksinteractive.com.
SOURCE: Scripps Networks Interactive Inc.