Bonnie Kintzer could just tell this was going to work, from that very first conversation.
It was back in January of this year, when Kintzer — the CEO and President of Trusted Media Brands — first connected with Jonathan Skogmo, the founder and CEO of Jukin Media. The chat went so well, in fact, that it set the stage for more conversations. And, ultimately, in a deal between both companies, which they jointly announced Thursday morning: Trusted Media Brands has acquired Jukin Media in an all-cash deal that, according to a source familiar with the terms, values the latter at an enterprise value of more than $100 million.
The first time the two CEOs “met,” Kintzer recounted to me in a phone interview, it was via long-distance video. That was thanks, of course, to the strictures imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, the more the two chief executives talked, the more comfortable they got with each other, with their companies, and their respective visions. And once everyone got vaccinated, they all finally met up in-person for the first time in April.
“This acquisition is definitely not based on cost-cutting,” Kintzer told me. “There are no names on a list that are going anywhere. In fact, for the first year of the plan we put together, we’re actually going to spend additional money. Our goal in the first year is to move as quickly as possible.”
Longer term? Definitely look for more of this same deal activity from Trusted Media, which has a portfolio of user-generated and community-based lifestyle brands including Taste of Home, Family Handyman, and Reader’s Digest,
In Kintzer’s words: “Our intention is to build a billion-dollar media company.”
Skogmo, meanwhile, founded Jukin in 2010. He built it around a mission of supplying safe and high-quality user-generated video content to the media, advertising and entertainment industries. That one word — “video” — is what Kintzer was especially keen on bringing more of into the Trusted Media fold.
Jukin’s properties include FailArmy, People Are Awesome, The Pet Collective, and WeatherSpy. And in 2020 alone, Jukin licensed more than 2,000 video clips for use in major advertising campaigns — as well as on TV and digital properties in almost 100 countries.
“We operate very similarly,” Skogmo told me, about both media companies. “We’re both profitable companies. Jukin Media has been profitable since Day One.” The company financed its growth mostly organically, expanding to multiple offices around the world.
“Everybody wants more eyeballs, and everybody’s competing for the same ad dollars,” he continued. “We realized that for us to grow and accelerate the way we wanted to, we decided we needed to find the right partner.”
Taking things “to the next level”
As part of Thursday’s acquisition announcement, both companies say that the combined entity will provide advertisers with even more potential to reach consumers across the web, social channels, CTV, OTT and print properties with “brand-safe, unique and authentic content.” Acquiring Jukin Media also quadruples Trusted Media Brands’ monthly audience reach and combines its portfolio of community-driven content properties whose audiences have increased 40% year over year.
The combined company will also have Trusted Media Brands’ commerce business that’s grown 75% over the past year. And speaking of Jukin Media, its portfolio of properties currently reaches more than 220 million fans online and already generates more than two billion minutes of video viewed each month across streaming TV and social media.
And adding Jukin Media’s portfolio to the Trust Media Brands wheelhouse strengthens the latter’s existing vertical coverage in food, home, lifestyle and wellness, also adding expertise in categories including pets, entertainment and humor.
“We have seen tremendous momentum across our web and social properties year over year, with video viewership and revenue at an all-time high.” said Trusted Media Brands president of digital Vince Errico. “In fact, video revenue outpaced video play growth due to strategic monetization efforts that are authentic to our brands. Jukin Media’s capabilities will take these strengths to the next level and pave the way for our future vision of what it means to be a leader in today’s media landscape.”
Black Press Media gives back to the Heart and Soul of the Community
Throughout its long history, Black Press Media has demonstrated a deep commitment to the communities we serve.
From sharing essential information you need to know, to shining a light on important topics in your community, to supporting local businesses and non-profits when they need it most, we’re here for you. In turn, we share our heartfelt gratitude for the support you’ve shown us, and your neighbours.
To showcase that commitment, the vital work of non-profit organizations, and their tireless staff and volunteers, Black Press Media founded the appropriately named program, Heart and Soul of the Community.
Within the program is a new initiative that provides a custom digital marketing package for a different charitable organization each month, tailored to their unique needs, and shared across our extensive network.
Whether their goals are to raise awareness of a new program, rally volunteers or increase donations, we’ll share our knowledge and expertise to make it happen.
Giving Tuesday is the ideal day to kick off this year-long initiative with our first partnership – Make A Wish Canada, a longstanding organization creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.
“Black Press Media has deep roots across British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, and today, with our extensive digital footprint complementing our printed products, we have more opportunities than ever before to give back,” says Randy Blair, Black Press Media’s Chief Operating Officer.
“One of the best ways to do that is by supporting those on the ground, making a difference every day in our communities. We encourage you to join us in learning more about these organizations, and how you might help make a difference, too.”
Black Press Media’s audience of four million unique website visitors each month and more than one million followers across its social media channels – in addition to its large, loyal print audience of millions of readers per week – ensures we reach every corner of the community.
How do we do it?
With the more than 185 award-winning, on-the-ground journalists – the largest of any news-gathering organization in B.C. – accompanied by social media and digital marketing professionals, videographers, SEO experts and others working throughout the region, Black Press Media has the skill and commitment to get the word out – how, when and where it matters.
Emergencies Act: Social media was key to protests, expert says
Social media acted as the “central nervous system” of the “Freedom Convoy” protest in Ottawa last winter, the Public Order Emergency Commission heard Tuesday as it considered the role of misinformation in the lead up to the invocation of the Emergencies Act.
The policy phase this week follows six weeks of fact-finding hearings into the events that led to that decision, which included testimony about online threats and the role social media played in organizing the protest against COVID-19 public health measures.
Before thousands of trucks started rolling toward Ottawa last January, a loose group of protest organizers communicated mainly over TikTok and Facebook, the commission heard over those weeks of testimony. Many of them had never met in person until the protest began.
“Social media was the central nervous system of the convoy, and exploration of its role crosses numerous domains, such as law, psychology, history, sociology and public policy, to name a few,” Emily Laidlaw, the Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity Law at the University of Calgary, wrote in a report for the commission.
Social media was used to fundraise, connect organizers and spread their message. It was also used to contrast the accounts of traditional media outlets and provide a different view of what was happening on the ground, Dax D’Orazio, a political scientist and post-doctoral fellow with Queen’s University, testified during an expert panel discussion before the commission Tuesday.
“It was a way of creating meaning, finding community and building, eventually, momentum for social and a political movement,” he said.
The inquiry is seeking the expert input to bolster its analysis of whether the government was right to use the Emergencies Act in response to protests that took over downtown Ottawa and halted trade at several border crossings.
The expert testimony will inform Commissioner Paul Rouleau’s recommendations about how to modernize the Emergencies Act and identify other areas for further study. It will also help him and his team study the impact of the purposeful or inadvertent spread of false information during the protest, which was explicitly written into the commission’s mandate.
Experts testified that regulating disinformation is a difficult prospect, especially since it’s not illegal to spread falsehoods.
“It’s lawful but awful,” said Laidlaw during the panel discussion. “For the government to create legislation that targets lawful expression, it likely won’t survive constitutional scrutiny.”
The experts defined disinformation as the intentional spread of false information, while misinformation was described as people spreading false information that they themselves believe to be true.
It would be difficult to draft laws that distinguish between the two, said Jonathon Penney, a legal scholar at York University. “It’s a question of intent,” he said.
The panellists also explored the relationship between extremist views and social media, which can provide an echo chamber that serves to confirm people’s existing biases.
Studies have shown the internet can help entrench extremist values, said Vivek Venkatesh, an education professor at Concordia University.
People who subscribe to extremist views increasingly turn to “fringe media” instead of taking in news from traditional sources, said David Morin, a national security expert with Sherbrook University, who spoke at the panel in French.
He said “self-made journalists” associated with those fringe outlets were present in Ottawa during the convoy protest, and produced “alternative information” for viewers.
For example, Morin said some alternative media sources reported that hundreds of thousands of protesters attended the Ottawa demonstration, when police reports show the true number was far lower.
The inquiry is on a tight timeline to complete its work, with Rouleau expected to submit final recommendations to Parliament at the beginning of February.
Another panel on the flow of essential goods and services, critical infrastructure and trade corridors was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2022.
U.S., European media outlets urge end to prosecution of Julian Assange
The United States should end its prosecution of Julian Assange, leading media outlets from the United States and Europe that had collaborated with the WikiLeaks founder said on Monday, citing press freedom concerns.
“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” editors and publishers of the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País said in an open letter.
Assange is wanted by U.S. authorities on 18 counts, including a spying charge, related to WikiLeaks’ release of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables. His supporters say he is an anti-establishment hero who has been victimized because he exposed U.S. wrongdoing, including in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Monday marked twelve years since those media outlets collaborated to release excerpts from over 250,000 documents obtained by Assange in the so-called “Cablegate” leak.
The material was leaked to WikiLeaks by the then American soldier Chelsea Manning and revealed the inner workings of U.S. diplomacy around the globe. The documents exposed “corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale,” the letter said.
In August, a group of journalists and lawyers sued the CIA and its former director Mike Pompeo over allegations the intelligence agency spied on them when they visited Assange during his stay in Ecuador’s embassy in London.
Assange spent seven years in the embassy before being dragged out and jailed in 2019 for breaching bail conditions. He has remained in prison in London while his extradition case is decided. If extradited to the United States, he faces a sentence of up to 175 years in an American maximum security prison.
His legal team has appealed to the High Court in London to block his extradition in a legal battle that has dragged on for more than a decade.
“Publishing is not a crime,” the media outlets said in their letter on Monday.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien
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