eHow Eyes Advertisers for Cooking Web Series

Demand Media’s service-oriented portal today launches Grow, Cook, Eat, an organic cooking-themed series that will be the first of several brand-friendly original shows.

Grow, Cook, Eat is hosted by current contributor Willi Galloway, who encourages readers to grow their own fruits and vegetables for meals in her blog DigginFood.

The series is part of a planned redesign of eHow, which will soon organize its content into six user- and advertiser-friendly channels: eHow Family, eHow Food, eHow Health, eHow Home, eHow Money and eHow Style. “This is a step in the reinvention, or evolution of our brand,” said site gm Gregory Boudewijn.

The plan is to launch multiple original series in each channel using contributors who have previously established a voice on eHow, and ideally an existing following, according to Steven Kydd, evp of Demand Media Studios.

“What we’ve seen over the past four years [since Demand purchased eHow] has raised the bar of quality and broadened our appeal,” he said. “We started with task-oriented content, and now we want to start to tell some stories.”

Indeed, a big drive behind the redesign and the slew of new video series is the desire to attract more regular users, not just those searching for particular topics at a given time. Plus, shows like Grow, Cook, Eat should assuage the concerns of brands that view companies like Demand as content factories designed to pump out cheap, search-oriented articles. The company has yet to show the new series to advertisers, but will start doing so this week.

For eHow’s upcoming slate, Kydd said he expects to draw talent ranging from relatively unknown niche bloggers to ex-professionals from the traditional media space. In fact, he sees eHow’s large audience (internal numbers put the site at a massive 90 million unique users) as competitive to the TV world.

“We see our talent emerging in the same way that the Food Network built its superstars,” he said.

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