|Dave Lieberman will star in the Food Network's 13-part, TV-like video series on the Web.
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The online series follows food trends in five cities and features a popular young talent who hosts a show on the Scripps-owned Food Network called Good Deal With Dave Lieberman. Because Mr. Lieberman is in his mid-20s, Scripps hopes that his contemporaries, who are about 15 years younger than the middle-aged audience the cable network draws, will watch the Web series and then discover the cable programming.
"We definitely push back to the network and get the audience as young as it can be," said Beth Higbee, vice president for online for Foodnetwork.com, Fineliving.com and GACTV.com.
Scripps will place two or three parts of the cooking series on Foodnetwork.com a few days before Thanksgiving, when traffic typically spikes. Last November, the site received 7.4 million visitors (about 2 million more than non-holiday months), according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
Target: 8 million viewers
This year Ms. Higbee expects to surpass 8 million visitors. Each segment is between two and five minutes long. "We asked people point blank in focus groups if they would watch 30-minute programming," she said. "They said their screens and connections are not on a par they would need."
The Foodnetwork.com informational content lends itself to what people are accustomed to seeking out online, Ms. Higbee added. "If there's something educational about it, they will stick around to watch it."
Experts say consumers watch mostly sports, news and movie trailers on broadband. Lifestyle offerings like Food Network's nestle nicely between being educational and entertaining. It may take a how-to nugget to convert Web users to watch video online, Ms. Higbee said.