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Paula Deen ventures into digital territory

Risk averse retailers were quick to shun Paula Deen after she displayed racial insensitivities last year, but now she is back with a new approach that appeals directly to fans of her brand.

Paula Deen Ventures plans to create an interactive digital experience called the Paula Deen Network that allows viewers to engage and access Deen and her Southern home cooking on a variety of digital platforms. The network will be a paid subscription model and is scheduled to launch this September.

“Guess who’s going digital, y’all! I’m so excited about my new online network and can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on,” Deen said in a statement. “We’re going to have so much fun being together and cooking up some wonderful new and classic dishes. Y’all can get my recipes, tips and cooking anytime you want – this is for you. I can’t wait to crank up the oven and get cooking for the people I love, my family, my friends and my fans!”

Registration for the network begins next month and those who sign up early will have a chance to win a trip to Savannah to join the live studio audience. A 14-day free trial period will be available to all users at the time of launch in September.

“While Paula had several offers to return to broadcast television, she ultimately decided to launch the Paula Deen Network because it gives her a greater level of direct access to her millions of fans when it is convenient for them,” said Steven Nanula, CEO of Paula Deen Ventures. “In addition, Paula will enjoy full creative control of the shows, recipes and content, and be able to give her fans exactly what they love most about her. With 4.2 million fans on Facebook and 1.24 million followers on Twitter, it was clear to us that an interactive digital network was the way to go.”