October 21, 2015 Last Updated 3:39 pm

Food & Wine relaunches title’s website, taking mobile-first approach

The new website from the Time Inc. title features more video, including from partners like ChefSteps and ChefsFeed, shoppable recipes and e-commerce initiatives

The new website for the Time Inc. title Food & Wine launched today (or at least, they announced the launch today). The responsive website has a lot going for it, as well as one or two things I find annoying. But the site, most importantly, has elements that will be important for the brand as it continues to try and grow its digital advertising.

FoodWine-cover-300The first thing one notices is that the site is definitely mobile-first. The new site is very attractive on both a tablet and smartphone. On my iMac the site appears almost enlarged by default – when I reduced the size it seemed more like a standard, modern website.

This design decision appears to be on purpose – after all, food topics are definitely leisure-time activities so readers would be expected to access the site during non-work hours, and therefore probably not on a desktop computer with a large display such as I use.

The most important things mentioned in the release below are the elements of the site that should attract digital ad buyers: video, shoppable recipes, and the like. For any magazine brand that will continue to publish without a paywall, attracting digital advertising will be vital – and to do that, one needs a website that provides marketers more than just buttons and banners.

Now that Time Inc. has launched a new website for its magazine, maybe it might want to take a look at its digital edition. For one thing, the iOS app has not been updated since November of last year when it added iPhone support.

But since the update readers have started to complain: first that they couldn’t download the issues, or their subscription was no longer recognized, then that the digital editions themselves had stopped being interactive.

“All the great functionality stopped after July 2015,” writes one reader. “Links to recipes, helpful organization and favorites’ id’ing are now gone. Better to get the hard copy than buying this app which now merely a scanned version of the mag.”

Likely the publishing team on the magazine has given up on producing a native digital edition, probably justified by the fact that Food & Wine has not been able to grow its digital subscriptions much beyond 1.6 percent of the total circulation – something that is a problem for much of the category. I should add, though, that this is a category that could easily be disrupted by a digital-only launch, one that would produce both a good website and an interactive digital edition.

Here is the announcement from Time Inc. for the new website for Food & Wine:

New York, NY – October 21, 2015 — Today, Time Inc.’s Food & Wine relaunches foodandwine.com with more award-winning content, a greater emphasis on video and the ultimate recipe experience—including smart recommendations, shoppable ingredients and gorgeous food photography. The site’s mission is to connect its users with the inspiration, tools and tips to have their best food lives, and the relaunch builds on the brand’s standing as a leader in an exponentially growing food category. Launch sponsors include Allianz, Appleton Estate and Lindt Excellence, with a mix of brand blocks and editorial alignment.

FoodWine-web-screenFood & Wine’s brand audience totals more than 12 million, up 14.6 percent versus the same period last year, according to Magazine Media 360 (January–August), and the social audience includes over 5 million fans across platforms.

The new responsive, mobile-first design will accelerate growth and engagement.

Christina Grdovic, SVP/Publisher of Food & Wine said, “The Food & Wine brand is primed for success as we undergo this digital transformation. Consumers continue to be obsessed with all things food and there is no end in sight. Food & Wine will bring more of the best content to more people. And we’ll have more opportunities for our partners to communicate in more innovative and customized ways.”

The new foodandwine.com highlights:

New Editorial Series: The new franchise How to Have the Best Food Year of Your Life kicks off with 25 trend-driven tips for maximizing your food life through travel, wine, style, events and cooking experiences. (Follow the social campaign using #BestFoodYear.) Additional features include Wine Comics and Chef Dispatches, with travel intel from Food & Wine’s most trusted chefs.

More Video: With the relaunch, F&W is developing a new videographer network of influencers around the world to shoot short, shareable travel videos. Also in development: the docu-style series Extreme Foodies and Food & Wine Live, which will showcase editors, guest chefs and wine experts in the new Food & Wine test kitchen at the Time Inc. food studios in the company’s new headquarters at Brookfield Place. These franchises add to F&W’s vast video library, which features the viral cooking program Mad Genius Tips and best-in-class food content from partners like ChefSteps and ChefsFeed.

Recipes: The new template is designed to drive engagement with a carousel of enticing recipes unlike any other food site, cooking videos on every page and the option to buy ingredients for delivery through our partners at Chicory.

E-Commerce Collaborations: New integrations with companies such as Drizly (on-demand beer, wine and liquor delivery across the U.S.) and Chicory (shoppable recipe ingredients) offer an added convenience for users.

Foodandwine-iPhone6-380Food & Wine Editor in Chief Dana Cowin added, “I’m thrilled to offer our audience an exciting new digital destination with so many reasons to visit and so many ways to be inspired. The site will be the ultimate resource for every imaginable food craving, whether you’re looking for the perfect recipe for your next dinner party, want to get a behind-the-scenes tour of a city with your favorite chef, need insider tips on picking a delicious Pinot Noir or are in search of the best up-and-coming restaurants in your hometown. And our launch feature, How to Have the Best Food Year of Your Life, is an essential guide for food lovers.”

The relaunch of foodandwine.com is emblematic of Time Inc.’s mission to grow its influential best-in-class brands with a multimedia approach that provides richer experiences for audiences everywhere they are and however they want to connect.

Mike Rich, General Manager of Time Inc. Digital Lifestyle Group said, “Shoppable recipes, where we can have ingredients delivered right to our audience’s homes; a fully responsive mobile-first approach; and a differentiated editorial voice with compelling new franchises are among the most exciting attributes of the new foodandwine.com. We’re developing a digital brand that can live anywhere our consumers are; we’re building audiences and cultivating larger communities across the web. I see an opportunity to expand our digital footprint even more, especially given the demand for food experiences—the food category audience has grown 18 percent year-over-year, outpacing the total digital population that’s seen a 3 percent increase, according to comScore.”

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