retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning reports that Scripps Networks, owner of the hugely successful Food Network, plans to launch a new Cooking Channel on Memorial Day 2010. The company already has announced a number of series starring Food Network veterans such as Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray.

According to the Times, “The craving for food programming is insatiable, Scripps executives like to say ... The ratings were up markedly for the Food Network last year, and shows set in kitchens have flourished on other channels. ... As the Food Network’s ratings have risen, its definition of success for new shows has changed accordingly, squeezing out space for niche shows. That is where programmers at the Cooking Channel say their opportunity lies. The new channel will have room for programs about alcoholic beverages, brunch, low-calorie eating, and food history, among other topics. A broad range of instructional shows during the day will give way to more shows driven by storytelling at night.”
KC's View:
If the folks at Scripps are right - and I think they are - they are continuing to lead the way on a trend on which many more food stores ought to be capitalizing. It has been one of MNB’s mantras from the beginning - that in order to be relevant, food stores ought to be not just a source of product, but a resource for information.

Retailers have to be careful not to be like Steve Martin’s Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr in Carl Reiner’s “The Man with Two Brains,” in which he prays for a sign that from his deceased wife that he should not marry the bad news bombshell played by Kathleen Turner...and then ignores a whole barrage of signs because he really wants to do what he wants to do.

Scripps is providing a sign. If you are in the food business, you ought to pay attention.