Marketing

Deep Dive on the Meat Eater Media Ecosystem

By Jon Elordi

What do I mean by ecosystem? Media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. A main piece of content(Movie, TV show, etc..) produces clips, social media posts, a podcast, and many other forms of content. And then those pieces of content can spin off more pieces of media. And over time for a brand, it becomes a whole network of different personalities and content types intermixing and surviving. This content creation process and it’s interplay with other created content is what I call a brand’s media ecosystem.

I’ve been exploring the media ecosystem. Especially media ecosystems of conservative or conservative-coded brands. And the brand that has blown me away is MeatEater.

From their YouTube about section:

MeatEater, Inc. is an outdoor lifestyle company founded by renowned writer and TV personality Steven Rinella. Host of the Netflix show MeatEater and The MeatEater Podcast, Rinella has gained wide popularity with hunters and non-hunters alike through his passion for outdoor adventure and wild foods, as well as his strong commitment to conservation. Founded with the belief that a deeper understanding of the natural world enriches all of our lives, MeatEater, Inc. brings together leading influencers in the outdoor space to create premium content experiences and unique apparel and equipment. MeatEater, Inc. is based in Bozeman, MT.

Media Assets and Platforms

MeatEater is a fully developed brand. They’re on every major social media and produce a variety of content. They are a big and expensive operation. to recreate a brand like this would take years or millions or both.

The Website

Their website, MeatEater.com , is professionally done and hosts all their media. It also features a blog with articles like “The Best Calibers for Elk Hunting”(link) and “How to Catch Fish Right After Ice Out”(link). The articles are heavily linked and the H1 tags seem keyworded, which suggests to me they’re making an SEO play with their articles. And a glance at Ahrefs confirms they get a decent amount of traffic.

For those curious, the spikes all occur in November, which is the start of hunting season. A good sign that deer hunting is MeatEater’s bread and butter.

the website also features a shop where they sell all kinds of merch and gear. The site appears to be littered with affiliate links. Either that or the person copying the links into their articles is not cleaning them before linking.

Overall the website is great. It gets good traffic and is set up to convert. I could probably write a whole deep dive on the website itself, but that’s not the point of this post.

YouTube

The MeatEater YouTube channel is where this brand shines. It currently has 1.39 Million subscribers.

The cornerstone or flagship content for MeatEater is their hunting videos. These are documentary-style hunting videos featuring the face of MeatEater, Steve Rinella. It was these that were originally on hunting channels and Netflix. This is how MeatEater started and it is what they continue to do. Sometimes, Steve will go on a hunting trip and bring a long guide or a companion. They are high quality and highly narrative.

To me, this is a great example of leading with high-quality content and then using that as the cornerstone of a media ecosystem. They started with just Steve doing hunting trips. However, the brand has grown, and some of those guests Steve used to bring on now have their own high production-value hunting shows(Spin-off 1, Spin-off 2, Spin-off 3). But wait, there’s more!

They’ve also spun off lower production value shows. There’s the MeatEater podcast hosted by Steve Rinella. And each on of those guests also has a specialty podcast. There’s Bear Grease, which is about storytelling and exploring the culture of rural America. There’s Cutting the Distance, which is dedicated to giving you the best hunting tips and tricks. Cal’s Week in Review is a shorter podcast that aggregates hunting news for the week. They cater to the White Tail Hunting by having a 15-minute podcast with useful tips.

These are all lower production value media, but they’re hosted by people familiar with the brand. And, hosted by people who have proven themselves to be hunters in the high production value hunting videos. The high-production-value videos provide proof of their ability. It gives them skin in the game. The low production cost media provides extra content for those who want more. I don’t think these other podcasts and videos would work or be as successful without the high-production-value videos. The hunting videos are the engine of this ecosystem.

The brand has gotten so popular that they’re venturing out of just hunting content. They have a Trivia Show, which is entirely personality-driven. Yes, the questions are all conservation-themed. But you watch it to see your favorite hosts banter and compete. And they also have a live-style show called, God’s Country. The show is about country music and the great outdoors.

the amount of content produced by MeatEater is impressive. Their YouTube channel puts out at least one video a day. Most of which are over an hour long with the shortest videos being tutorials that are about fifteen minutes long.

With all this content, they are clipped through the gills. Their YouTube shorts, TikTok, and Instagram are full of clips from all of their shows. It looks like they do very little social-specific content. But when you have that much YouTube content, I don’t blame them for not wanting to do TikTok dances.


Anybody in media/marketing can learn from what MeatEater has done. they have a giant platform that reaches millions of people every week. Their ability to excel at high production hunting videos as well as low production podcasts is a testament to the talent of the hosts and their willingness to try new things. What I didn’t mention is their website is also a graveyard of content that didn’t work. There are remnants of old video series still on their site. Their show, Back 40, hasn’t had a new episode since February 2021. And there are several other shows like this.

MeatEater shows what you can do when you spin off shows from what works and are willing to take some risks.

But then again, we shouldn’t be surprised that hunters are resourceful and good at using every part of the content.