Thursday, August 16, 2012

Food Network On the Road: new iPad app from the cable television network aims to create a social app for travelers seeking (and sharing) restaurant recommendations

If you are a cable television network looking to expand your brand onto the mobile and tablet platforms there are two ways you can go: you can negotiate with the cable providers so you can create an app such as HBO GO, or you can develop something new that builds off your brand and uses your available content. That is the approach the Food Network has chosen for its first three app.
The network's newest universal iOS app is Food Network On the Road (Official), a rather strange name since I failed to see any "unofficial" app by the same name.

Be that as it may, this is certainly appears to be the network's best and most inventive app to date. The app uses the iPhone's or iPad's geolocation services to pin point where you are so it can deliver restaurant recommendations using the network's various restaurant and city guides from its portfolio of shows. Users can add their own comments and recommendations, making the new app more social.

This new app, and the two others produced by the network should not be confused with the three apps produced by Hearst for the branded magazine Food Network.

For Hearst, the goal for their app is to reproduce the print magazine, and hopefully make it more interactive. The problem for the magazine app, of course, is Hearst's policy of making print subscribers pay for digital – either to drive them to digital, or simply to irritate them (having worked for Hearst I'm not really sure which is their actual strategy here). Because of this, and the fact that a food magazine is generally one that has a high percentage of subscribers (versus single copy buyers), the app gets tons of one-star reviews, damaging the brand and limiting sales.

But this new app from the TV network is another thing altogether and should enjoy very positive reviews.

Finally, it should be noted that both the app and its content are free to download and access.

Here is a brief video walk-through as seen on the iPad: