Trusted Media Brands Is Safe At Home

If you’ve got a name like Trusted Media Brands Inc. when brand safety is a growing issue, you’d better be ready to step up your game.

At its NewFronts presentation TMBI (which used to be Reader’s Digest) did just that, reminding buyers of its brand-safe environment. BBC, a brand that is nearly a century old (they kept reminding us) did the same thing at its event earlier in the day, touting that its superior audience also includes a heavy sprinkling of actual rich millennials.

Trusted Media Brands hit buyers where they live, literally. “What’s the safest place you know? It’s home, right?” asked Rich Sutton, CRO at Trusted Media Brands, very rhetorically, at the event called “Home Starts Here.” (Management even gave attendees a slice of homemade pie to take with them.)

TMBI includes Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home, The Family Handyman and other wholesome non-threatening titles and their digital counterparts.



Thing are looking up. Trusted Media Brands is ramping up, searching for 25 new employees in nearly every facet of the business.

Vince Errico, TMBI’s chief digital officer suggested (facetiously?) that if folks in the audience know someone looking for a job, they should inquire within.

It also announced seven new series--two healthy ones, two food focused ones, two home design and construction ones and one transcategorical one called “5 ½  Hacks” from Family Handyman, and featuring how-to advice that seems to be a “Heloise Hints” for the digital era. Fun.

Arcade Creative Group, a Sony unit, has partnered with TMBI to help produce the series.

But, Sutton said later, five out of seven of these shows are concepts waiting for advertiser participation to make them happen, not a rare circumstance in NewFronts World.

It would appear that there’s a good chance for the others. TMBI sites had 1.6 billion views in 2016 and expects 2.4 billion this year, and CEO Bonnie Kintzer says the company is on pace to get there. For example, Family Handyman now turns out 400 stories a year, and TMBI’s custom video group has produced 65 sponsored videos since last year’s NewFronts.

The company endures the perception only old people watch its sites or look at Reader’s Digest magazine but Kintzer and Sutton push back on that--they say 40% of its digital audience is made up of millenials, and over its combined social channels, it has 60 million followers reaching 21 million millennials..  (On the other hand, it’s pretty clear no one is owed a future. In his presentation, Sutton grimly noted the rapid and continuing decline in the number of old Fortune 500 companies). So hitting demo group’s like “Newly Forming Families,” one of TMBI’s targets,  is serious business.

In conjunction with the event, TMBI also unveiled more new research it did with Advertising Perceptions, titled “Social Cracks The Digital Video Code that shows the big move by consumers to social media video, as perceived by marketers and agencies.

It concludes that even with brand safety issues, 68% of the respondents said social is its most important for video. In second place are video platforms. A year ago, those video platforms led by 3 percentage points, to now, when those platforms are 12 percentage points behind.
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