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TMB CEO Bonnie Kintzer on digital media pivots

May 9, 2024
a photo illustration of Trusted Media Brands CEO Bonnie Kintzer in front of a picnic table print background

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals; Photo: Courtesy of Trusted Media Brands

Ten years in as CEO of TMB and this week named chair, Bonnie Kintzer says her job excitement stems from the company's successful pivots. She dined with Kerry this week for our "1 big meal" interview series.

Why it matters: TMB (Trusted Media Brands) is a portfolio of media brands including Reader's Digest, Family Handyman, Taste of Home, FailArmy and The Pet Collective. Vox Media veteran Marty Moe recently joined as president. Kintzer also serves on the board of Thryv.

🤫 Why we chose the restaurant: The Smith in Midtown East. Kintzer says it's "great food, great location and quiet."

🥑 What we ate: We each had a biscuit. She had a cappuccino with almond milk and avocado toast. I had an iced coffee and steel-cut oatmeal.

This interview was edited for clarity, style and length.

What excites you about your role?

  • "We are so not the company that I came to 10 years ago, and I say that with such pride of who we are today. ... We are a video-first, digital media company."
  • "When I walked in, we were almost primarily print. We still have print, and we love our print products. ... But obviously we're leaning into where the growth is ... social, streaming, web, affiliate."

Was that pivot from the Jukin acquisition?

  • "I have had three jobs at this company, so I've never been bored. The first pivot was digital, like websites. We had a lot of traffic when I first got there. We weren't monetizing it. We weren't thinking about the quality and the quantity and how to really build those relationships."
  • "The second, I would say, even bigger transformation was the acquisition of Jukin three years ago because we had never been able to ROI video. .... We are uniquely positioned to be a scaled, low-cost video player."

How did you find Jukin?

  • "We had hired a banker [Progress Partners] to look for acquisitions. ... I had gone to our investment group and said, 'The truth is you should either sell us or buy something because bigger is needed.'"

Will Instagram prioritizing original content impact Jukin?

  • "We're not worried. We have exclusive rights to the videos, so it's not as though somebody else is using them. We create content for each partner."

Are you pursuing more M&A?

  • "We are in conversations with a few different companies right now. One of the challenges is some of these companies need a lot of investment, and that doesn't just mean investment of money; it's time. It means you're not doing something else on your roadmap because resources are not unlimited."
  • "We're focused on food and homes really to build out what we already have, maybe something in automotive. We haven't hired a bank."

🐍 1 fun fact: Kintzer owns a house inside a nature preserve in South Carolina, where she deals with alligators and snakes.

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