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Epicurious Launches New App

While the creation of an app is not exactly novel, it signals a larger shift for the digital brand.

EPI’S UPDATED LIFESTYLE: Epicurious, the Condé Nast-owned digital food brand, is launching a new app today in tandem with its second special-edition print publication. While the creation of an app is not exactly novel — this is an updated version of its 2009 app — it signals a larger shift for the digital brand. According to Carolyn Kremins, senior vice president and general manager, Epicurious is broadening its focus a bit to include travel and lifestyle, but through a food-centric lens.

Although the site still relies on recipes, users will notice a flow of content that will be developed by editor in chief Nilou Motamed, who was poached in November from Travel + Leisure, where she served as features director and senior correspondent.

Given Motamed’s travel experience, one wonders whether Epicurious will end up stealing some crumbs from sibling Condé Nast Traveler, but that isn’t likely, Kremins said, despite the fact that the brand will release five special print editions this year. “We’re a digital brand first and foremost. We were launched organically 19 years ago,” she said. “We will have content that speaks to multiple topics, be it food or travel or design, architecture or fashion even, but it’s through the lens of food.”

With an audience of about 22 million, and a breakdown of roughly 9 million on the Web, 9.2 million on the app and the rest “through social media touch points,” Kremins explained that the development of the new app was vital to Epicurious’ continued growth.

Targeting iPhone and iPad users, the app features voice activation, allowing for hands-free usage while cooking. In other words, users can control the screen using simple voice commands (but not, presumably, “Make me a beef Wellington.”). Other novelties include better search options, a preview mode and filters.

Perhaps the most advantageous of the lot is the improved native advertising platform as the growth of “sponsored content” generates both increasing revenue and increasing controversy across media. According to Epicurious, advertisers can integrate their sponsored content into the app and onto epicurious.com more easily. The first major sponsor is Campbell’s.

“Native advertising is a very important part of our brand,” Kremins said, explaining that there will be four “tiles” for sponsors to advertise their content in. The tiles will be shaded and clearly marked, and when clicked, the user will be able to remain on the Epicurious site. “We will never try to mislead our customer,” Kremins said when asked if ads will be clearly marked. “Trust is an important part of the DNA of our brand.”

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