Monday, September 18, 2006

Attention Foodies: CNET Cooks Up Chow.com

Ok, I understood the brand extension reasoning behind BNET.com, a "high-quality source of business thought leadership" content that CNET launched last spring. And CNET TV - seems totally logical.

I wouldn't have predicted a food site on the CNET menu, but I suspect they've given it a bit more thought than I have. As a PR person, one has to admire the carefully seasoned launch, which served up a New York Times preview (registration required) as an August appetizer, a month before the public beta went live. (I feel somewhat vindicated by the Times description of CNET as
"an unlikely purveyor" of a food site.)

But CHOW won't be your Father's food site. Today's press release announcing the beta reports that "CHOW provides a place for a new breed of food enthusiasts to share and grow their interests through recipes, features, how-to pieces, personality profiles restaurant reviews and more." The release says CHOW was "created to super-serve a segment of younger, more knowledgeable and opinionated food enthusiasts..." Since it targets users aged 25-49, I suspect I'll feel more at home at my much loved epicurious.com, which the Times regards as serious competition, due to its shared parentage with the venerable pubs Gourmet and Bon App├ętit.

Alas, I fear "venerable" is a telltale word. CHOW is chomping at a new, hipper demographic.


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