Jamie Oliver Online

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POSTED: January 29, 2007

In today’s online version of The Independent Ian Burrell interviewed Jamie Oliver. Most of the discussion was about his television plans but there was a small snippet about his website:

Mister Oliver, apparently,

is fascinated by the prospect of making shows specifically for the internet and is already experimenting, not just with podcasts and moblogs (pictures from his mobile), but with turning jamieoliver.com into a mini TV channel.

“This month we are going to start doing a monthly show broadcast from my kitchen in the office. Almost like a filmed radio show.” The Naked Chef argues that for video content to work online it generally needs to be less serious than television. “Quality content, sense of humour, heart and soul” are the key qualities.

The site used four cameras and outside broadcast equipment to produce a special show last year, encouraging families to eat communally. Nevertheless, like many others, he still hasn’t found the answer to making it commercially viable. “It’s all self-funded and we don’t have advertisers but you do need money to run these bastard things and it is a constant drain,” he says. “I’ve spent seven years paying for a website. Money is just leaking from every orifice.”

Nonetheless, for a broadcaster with a following in more than 50 countries, the site, through its many forums, keeps him in contact with his international audience. “You’ve got people from Peru, Israel, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, all arguing about what the best Yorkshire pudding is. That in itself is great content.”

The site looks very good. It has a clean, clear layout and an unusual colour sense. The menus are simple and very effective. It contains a lot of content and makes navigating it easy. There is RSS everywhere, in a non-techie unobtrusive way.

The site also has the official Oliver prose style which can be described as advanced cheeky chappie. Interestingly, this is not necessarily a bad thing. While it would be stomach-churning if the site was the work of a team of pr bunnies asking themselves “How would Jamie say this?”, it is clear that Jamie Oliver has his own hands all over the site – and that it reflects his own taste and interests.

How many other sites have such a variety of custom-made content? And how many other celebrity sites feature moblogging?

Jamie Oliver is obviously a leading contender for this year’s Involved with the Internet as much as David Bowie award.