The Big Business Of Epic Meals – SXSW Panel Recap

March 11th, 2012

Epic Meal TIme SXSWWe constantly hear how if we just follow our passions success will find us. It sounds wonderful, do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Blogs, books, and countless articles are published every month stating stories of rare examples that we all strive for. The thought of this message is liberating, but often the reality is pretty unrealistic. Passion is often not enough, you also have to be able to run a business.

Well yesturday at SXSW, I witnessed maybe the single greatest example of this philosophy. Meat (bad pun intended), the Epic Meal Time boys.

If you’re unfamiliar with Epic Meal Time, think of them as the anti-Food Network. Each week they upload videos to YouTube about making meals that make the even most glutonous among us jealous with envy. For example, their Meatball Deathstar packs a whopping +14,000 calories and over 1,000 grams of fat. The Fast Food Lasagna has a layer that consists of 15 Big Macs, meat sauce, and is completely covered in bacon.

In addition to cooking ridiculous or “epic” meals, these “chefs” are generously partaking in seasoning their meals and mouths with liquor.

Now if this sounds like a bunch of buddies video taping each other sitting around an apartment, drinking booze, and eating bacon…well that’s exactly what it is. But don’t let them fool you, their YouTube channel has more than 46,500,000 views. For reference that’s more than 8x the population of New York City.

I find these videos kinda hilarious and have been a fan for awhile. But being at SXSW and it being a learning experience I was interested in hearing what kind of marketing or business advice they might share so I went to their panel, appropriately titled “Meat is Might: Epic Meal Time Rules the Web”.

The panel was as ridiculous as I expected, but there was some solid advice that was shared:

1. The most important aspect to their success was consistency:The key to Youtube is consistency, which is not that much differnet than other web platforms. They consistently upload good content on a regular schedule that their audience loves.

2. Understand your audience: For a bunch of guys having fun, they spoke in length about the tremendous detail they spend on the analytics portion of youtube. They constantly monitor where their audience is most engaged and where their audience quits watching. Over time they’ve identified trends that allow them to produce videos that are exactly what their audience wants.

3. Do something you love: They explained this as…if you do what you love, the monetization aspect is much less important. If you enjoy doing it, you’ll continue to create videos because it’s fun, not because you’re trying to get paid. If you are only trying to get paid, you’ll eventually end up quitting.

4. Don’t give up: Success does not come fast and often not the first time you try it. In this case, this niche was the fourth channel they made. Stick with it and don’t give up.

Pretty solid advice but this is also a business. In addition to ad revenue they get from Youtube, Epic Meal Time also has live events and a TV pilot in the works. Epic indeed. We’ll keep reporting back, but now I’m off to go eat some bacon.