Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lazy Sunday # 364: Mukbang

We’ve all had the (pleasure?) of having someone use Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to send us an image of what they’re about to have for lunch.

Or dinner.

Or breakfast.

Or at 3:00 am after their local has closed and kicked them into the street.

It’s an affliction I’ve never quite understood.

Not long ago, I had the real pleasure of dining in a Vegas eatery operated by a noted Food Network chef. It would never have crossed my mind to instant message anybody with where I was having dinner let alone what exactly was on my plate.

Such was not the case for the party next to me, all four of whom were recording stills and video of what they’d been served like some kind of Food Paparazzi and feeding them to the Internet.

Later, in meeting our chef and host, they gushed at how much they loved his TV show.

Okay, so maybe this was all just another reflection of our celebrity culture –- or our obsession with basking in the warmth of a nearby celebrity body.

Or maybe –- it was the glimmer of a new age where what we have normally accepted as legitimate forms of employment are being replaced by something else.

Anybody who works in TV is well aware that the coming of the Reality genre has led to every gym rat thinking he could be the next action star and every guy doing renovations handing over his pilot concept for his own DIY series.

But I discovered something this week that made me realize that networks that thrive on Reality, networks like HOME & GARDEN and FOOD might not be around much longer.

It’s something called MUKBANG.

Let me make this simple. The highest rated series on the Food Network hovers around the 600,000 mark. That’s a US figure. Here in Canada it’s, of course, far less.

But just one of the shows involved in Mukbang pulls in 300 Million viewers.

300 Million.

That’s the Superbowl.

Every week.

Sometimes more often.

And it’s about food.

Mukbang is a cultural phenomenon that might not have reached these shores yet. But it’s coming. And its stars earn small fortunes for doing nothing more than what all of you do right after sending your Instagram image…

The Food Network is doomed.

Enjoy Your Sunday…

1 comment:

rick mcginnis said...

I was going to disagree, but then it occurred to me: My daughters (who have lived w/o cable tv for several years now) religiously watch a bunch of YouTube shows, produced by tweens and teens, many of which have made them stars - though I've never heard of them until now. I'm assured by my wife, though, that they are bona fide sensations and make a living from their online programs. One of them showed up on a charity episode of The Great British Bake Off on BBC the other day, alongside ACTUAL celebrities I've heard of, so it must be true.

Here's the thing - my girls are the future audience for HGTV and Food, and they're already opted out to the online alternative. So yeah - if I were working for these networks I'd be terrified.