Kate Bulkley, Media Analyst.

Cooking recipe app transforms television channel's digital strategy

By Kate Bulkley

Digital Tribes

Monday November 30, 2008

Chello Multicanal's number-one Cocina TV app doubles traffic to website, spurs new digital growth

Spanish television company Chello Multicanal's digital strategy changed radically when the company launched its first Apple iPhone application in April.

The iPhone app, which was related to Chello's popular cooking channel Cocina TV, offers cooking instructions and recipes. In its first 20 days, some 60,000 people had downloaded the application, with 10% of them accessing it from outside of Spain. "It was a fantastic success from the beginning and was number one in the App Store for 15 consecutive days in Spain," says Eduardo Zulueta, managing director of Chello Multicanal. "That's huge. We didn't believe it was going to work but now we are working on making all our 5,000 recipes available, each with an associated video."

To give this some perspective, a year ago Chello Multicanal was getting about 110,000 unique visitors a month to its Cocina TV website. The company thinks this will increase to 200,000 by the end of this year, driven largely by the success of the iPhone app.

The app attracted positive reviews on tech blogs and gastronomy websites in Spain, adding traffic to the website. From this month, users will be able to upload their own recipes and pictures directly from their iPhone to the webpage. In October almost 150,000 videos were viewed from the app.

"Right now we are mainly a TV operation but we are looking to strengthen the brand and the channels and we believe there is a business on the web and iPhone we just don't yet know when the pay model will develop," says Zulueta. "We are looking at sponsorship, but it is trial and error. What I will say is we have been extremely surprised by the uptake and the power of word of mouth."

Chello Multicanal is considering a hybrid model where people might get some cooking videos for free but would then pay to get access to all the cooking videos. The company is also looking at creating a shopping list function but admits that it will take time to convert all the files and recipes into the proper format for the iPhone. "There is a conversion process that has to be done and investments will have to be made," says Zulueta. "We think it could be revenue-generating but we have to do a little more work."

Two years ago Chello Multicanal had no digital or web people on staff. It now has six employees (of a total 150 of staff) dedicated to digital projects. Chello Multicanal, which is owned by Liberty Global, an international cable TV and channel owner, operates eight TV channels in Spain and Portugal. Zulueta says the next push is to create an iPhone app for its house and gardening channel De Casa. "In the context of shrinking TV budgets and revenues this is one area that is growing quickly," he says.


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