The price tag of the all-cash deal wasn’t disclosed. The acquisition brings together Jukin’s library of 70,000 licensed UGC clips — spanning a range of viral stunts, pranks, pratfalls and more — with Reader’s Digest and Trusted Media Brands’ other brands. The companies touted the combination as helping them both scale reach across web, social and connected-TV platforms.
For Trusted Media Brands, whose properties include Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home, Family Handyman, Reminisce and Country Woman, Jukin provides the resources to expand over-the-top streaming, video production and social video, said president and CEO Bonnie Kintzer (pictured above left).
“We are really pivoting with this acquisition,” Kintzer said. “We want to focus our growth on OTT video, with the second area of growth in digital media.”
Trusted Media Brands sees digital-first players like BuzzFeed and Group Nine Media as its key competitors, Kintzer said. Jukin gives the company an immediate entrée into social video — quadrupling the combined company’s monthly audience. Jukin Media’s portfolio of properties reaches more than 220 million viewers online, generating more than 2 billion minutes of video viewed each month on social media and more than 11 million hours viewed monthly on streaming TV platforms. Trusted Media Brands says it reaches nearly 60 million U.S. consumers.
In 2020 alone, Jukin Media said, it licensed more than 2,000 video clips for use in major ad campaigns and on TV and digital properties in nearly 100 countries. In addition to its licensing business, Jukin Media operates digital media brands including FailArmy, People Are Awesome, the Pet Collective and WeatherSpy.
“We have mostly grown organically,” Jukin Media founder and CEO Jonathan Skogmo (above right) said. “We realized to get that next level of growth we were going to need to scale this business… When we first met Trusted Media Brands and Bonnie, I hate to say the cliché, but it was love at first sight.”
Kintzer first met with Skogmo and the Jukin Media team in January 2021. Trusted Media Brands also evaluated another “big OTT player” but Kintzer declined to identify that company. “For a while, we had been looking for that perfect fit for us,” she said. “We wanted to be bigger, but we wanted to find a company that fit with ours in terms of offerings and culture.”
For now, Jukin Media will remain based in L.A. and led by Skogmo and co-CEO Lee Essner. Trusted Media Brands has 400 employees in the U.S. and Canada, while Jukin employs about 270 people worldwide.
Kintzer said there’s little overlap between the two companies and added that Trusted Media Brands isn’t looking to achieve cost-saving synergies through the Jukin deal. “Our focus is on the growth plan, how we grow to be a billion-dollar company,” she said.
In the immediate future, Trusted Media Brands plans to work with Jukin to launch OTT channels for Taste of Home and Family Handyman. The company also plans to add ecommerce components to Jukin’s Pet Collective and FailArmy sites.
Founded in 2009, Jukin Media raised about $6 million in funding from investors including Samsung Ventures, BDMI, Third Wave Digital and Mandalay Entertainment chairman and CEO Peter Guber.
The Reader’s Digest Association, after filing for bankruptcy protection twice, announced Trusted Media Brands as its new corporate name in 2015. The privately held company is majority-owned by hedge fund GoldenTree Asset Management.
In the Jukin acquisition, Trusted Media Brands was advised by Progress Partners and represented by Latham & Watkins. Jukin Media was represented by law firm Paul Hastings, and Houlihan Lokey served as its exclusive financial adviser.