Executive Briefing

How Food52 nailed the content, commerce, and community trifecta

Every media business is thinking about its commerce strategy. Here’s one that worked.

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, founders of Food52
Photos: Rocky Luten / Food52

Media consolidation season is underway! In addition to last week’s Vox Media-New York Magazine merger, Vice and Refinery29 and Outbrain and Taboola announced their combinations this week.

The deal I’m more interested in: Food52, the New York-based digital media and e-commerce business, has sold a majority stake to TCG, an investment firm founded by former News Corp. exec Peter Chernin, for $83 million. The sale values the company at “more than $100 million,” according to the WSJ.

Food52, founded a decade ago by food writers Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs (pictured above), has never tried too hard to be trendy. With a total reach of 16 million monthly unique web visitors, social media followers, and newsletter subscribers, it sits in the tricky middle ground between niche and mass media.

But through a combination of tasteful service journalism — including tens of thousands of recipes — and community interaction, it has become one of the few media startups to successfully master the elusive content, community, and commerce model, where people come to read, share, and crucially, to shop.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

I’m a longtime tech and business journalist, and I’m excited to focus my attention on how technology continues to profoundly change how things are created, experienced, bought, and sold. The New Consumer is supported entirely by your membership — join now to receive my reporting, analysis, and commentary directly in your inbox, via my twice-weekly, member-exclusive newsletter. Thanks in advance.

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