How to Cook That
Ann Reardon’s cake-baking videos have changed her pastime into a business. Her channel How to Cook That has become YouTube’s second most watched cooking show with more than 18 million viewers each month.
The former dietician formed a company last year and now Reardon Media employs her and her husband David full-time as well as two part-time staff. About 70 per cent of the company’s revenue comes from YouTube advertising, with the balance derived from a cake-related website, iPhone and iPad app, and merchandise and product placement deals.
How to Cook That is also linked to a Los Angelesbased talent agency, a multi-channel network (a YouTube feature not unlike a TV network, which introduces sponsors) and recently received a grant from Screen Australia.
Reardon started a cake recipe blog in 2011 after the birth of her third son, partly to keep her mind occupied while breastfeeding.
“I always thought I would start a blog because I was writing out my recipes for people all the time, but I had no idea it would turn out like this,” she says. Storage on her website was limited, so YouTube became the home for her occasional videos.
“YouTube kept sending me emails asking if I wanted to monetise my videos, and I kept ignoring them. After a while I thought if I ticked ‘yes’ they’d stop sending them. I quickly realised YouTube was paying much more than the banner ads on my website.”
Reardon’s elaborate cakes are inspired by popular culture. They range from cake versions of Star Wars’ Millennium Falcon to chocolate Oscar statuettes.
“You’ll get the occasional online trolls, but in general the baking community seems to be quite nice. You can’t necessarily answer all comments in person, but we certainly read them all.”