Sky Full of Bacon

My third podcast, the barbecue one, has passed over 1000 views on Vimeo. (You have to watch substantially the whole thing to count, so those are real views, not clicks to it who quickly clicked away.) Add in the iTunes podcasts— no exact number for views, but I have close to 100 subscribers— and the first podcast, the local one, currently hovering at 988 Vimeo views, is certainly over 1000 viewings total as well.

Okay, so my mom is proud, but is that really a significant number compared to the millions who must watch food TV? Well, yes and no. This is a Chicago-based podcast, although of course its viewership is not limited to Chicago. So how many people watch Food Network in Chicago? Without tracking down exact Nielsen numbers, we can get an idea from an article like this which says that the record for a Food Network show was Who Will Be The Next Food Network Star? which drew about 3.4 million viewers— or about 1.1% of the population.

If that’s the record, then the average is probably half that or less. So let’s call it half a percentage point. Half a percentage point of the population in Chicago would be about 40,000 people.

So my show, produced for the cost of videotape and the occasional lunch, draws about 1/40th of what the multimillion-dollar Food Network does in Chicago. That may not seem like that much, but it’s also worth remembering that there’s a big difference between flipping the TV on, which you may or may not actually pay attention to, and seeking out a podcast which you sit and watch during its brief run. So in terms of actually committed viewers… well, who knows how to measure that. Suffice it to say the gap between me and Food Network just got smaller yet by some indefinable amount.

Now, I don’t think guys working in their basements will ever replace multimillion-dollar TV networks. But what I do think this demonstrates is that we can now find an audience of decent size which will choose to watch well-produced video like this and doesn’t have to be approached in a glitzy, sensationalized way. We can make shows about real food, not hyped-up game shows (which I have nothing against, but they do demonstrate how TV is always about TV first and the actual subject second), and attract, if not a huge audience, a sufficient, highly-interested-in-food audience who justifies doing it—and which some ad agency will find sufficiently attractive, less because of its size than because of its quality.

Will this ever actually be a business? Who knows. The web itself seems to be a mass experiment in finding out what people will do for attention and not money. Being a Food Video Podcast Star may never amount to anything beyond, as somebody said in inverting Warhol’s cliche, “In the future everyone will be famous to 15 people.”

But I have more than 15 people. I got over 1000 for two different podcasts, and I did them my way. That’s pretty damn cool. Cool enough to keep shooting and see where it leads to next.

Tags: , ,