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From Brown Butter to Every Night Cooking

Yahoo Food Strikes Deals With Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck and Rachael Ray

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Yahoo, banking on verticals to help it grow, launched a food section this week that it hopes will help it carve out a space attractive to the big business of packaged goods and food marketers.
For Yahoo Food and its media partners, it's a delicate arrangement of cooperation and competition.
For Yahoo Food and its media partners, it's a delicate arrangement of cooperation and competition.

The site, Yahoo Food, will try to compete in a market already crowded with heavy hitters from mainstream media such as Scripps' FoodNetwork.com and MarthaStewart.com and indies such as Chowhound. To do that, the portal has struck a series of partnerships with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Epicurious, Cooks Illustrated and AllRecipes.com, among others.

Casting a wide net
Of course, as most portals do, it's also casting a wide net, using blogs by Marcus Samuelsson and Wolfgang Puck to appeal to the brown butter crowd and Rachael Ray for the 30-minute meal types. With luck, said Yahoo, the two very different kinds of foodies can coexist.

"We're focused on every day and special days," said Deanna Brown, general manager of Yahoo Lifestyles. "I will have some gourmands who say this isn't serious enough, but that's fine."

For the media partners, it's a delicate arrangement of cooperation and competition. MSLO, for example, is in the process of building out a major re-launch of MarthaStewart.com, set to go live in first quarter of 2007. And in the meantime, said Holly Brown, president of the internet for MSLO, the company has been working on establishing key partnerships to keep its brand out there.

"I think it's an art to a certain extent in terms of what you make available and how you differentiate your experience on your own site and more broadly," Ms. Brown said. "From [MSLO CEO] Susan Lyne to myself, we think partnerships are very critical to ultimately growing the business and driving traffic."

Revenue deals
The MSLO-Yahoo partnership is based on a revenue-sharing relationship, as is an ad-supported test MSLO and other publishers are doing with Google Video. Part of any portal deal for publishers is also making content easy to find through Google and Yahoo's video search tools.

"There's a power of having an archive together," said Ms. Brown, adding that the Yahoo Food partnership sends people looking for more information back to MarthaStewart.com. "With the redesign it'll be much easier to make it relevant to your personal interests at the time."
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