How to Cook That

The Australian - The Deal - - Ideas Valley -

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.”

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