We need to talk about overhead instructional videos of people making food. You know the ones I mean. Open up Facebook or Instagram and you’ll bump into one or two or a billion of them.
Consider “Sliders 4 Ways,” in which a disembodied pair of hands moving at bullet speed turns dinner rolls and a variety of meats into a feast fit for a super-high king.
In the year since it was published, “Sliders 4 Ways” has been viewed 194 million times on Facebook alone. Or look at “Cheeseburger Onion Rings,” a concoction of ground beef, spices, onions and a smooth-jazz synth score. It has racked up 167 million views in a year.
These numbers aren’t a fluke. Other than music videos and actual pornography, POV-style instructional food porn has lately become just about the most popular thing on the internet.
No one knows who invented the overhead food video. Like image-macro memes or Slender Man, it most likely emerged in some primordial message-board swamp. But like everything else online, the format has since been refined, professionalized and monetized, and today most of these clips are produced on media assembly lines in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and London by a single entity: Tasty, a division of BuzzFeed that has turned the overhead food video into a hypergrowth business.
Tasty is just 2 years old, but by several measures it is now producing some of the most popular digital content in the world. According to Tubular Labs, a research firm that tracks digital videos, Tasty’s videos were seen about 1.1 billion times in June. In some months its viewership has eclipsed 3 billion views. Tasty, which…
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