UGC Powerhouse Jukin Media Is Acquired by 'Reader's Digest' Owner

Caitlin Cook
Caitlin Cook is an editorial intern at dot.LA, currently earning her master's degree in mass communication from California State University, Northridge. A devoted multimedia journalist with an interest in both tech and entertainment, Cook also works as a reporter and production assistant for MUSE TV. She got her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Filmmaking from University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
UGC Powerhouse Jukin Media Is Acquired by 'Reader's Digest' Owner

Jukin Media, the company that licenses and acquires pet videos and other user-generated content, has been plucked up by Trusted Media Brands, a New York-based media company best known for its publications including "Reader's Digest" and "Taste of Home." Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"I'm just super proud to continue seeing the trend of exits happening in L.A.," Jukin Media founder and co-CEO Jon Skogmo told dot.LA. "I think it's great for the L.A. tech community, and I'm really proud to be part of it."

Skogmo said that, after a successful 2020, he began setting their sights on an acquisition deal to explode their growth. Jukin connected with Trusted Media Brands, which was looking for the same thing.

After initially networking remotely, Trusted Media Brands flew out to L.A. to meet with Jukin's leaders in person this past January.

"It really just was a perfect match, perfect synergies, perfect complementary businesses," Skogmo said. "They do a lot of things really well, like affiliate, ecommerce, owned and operated websites, first party data, stuff that we're not really good at. But we are so great at social; we're great at video; we're great, obviously, at this licensing arm."

The two companies have historically worked with very different types of content; Trusted Media Brands largely focuses on health, lifestyle and food while Jukin primarily works with comedy. This diversity of content is expected to allow both companies to scale their reach across the internet.

In the face of this massive change, Skogmo said relocation, downsizing and cost-cutting are not currently on the docket for Jukin as they seize this "transformative" opportunity for growth. Ultimately, the goal is for Jukin to grow into a billion-dollar company.

Skogmo will continue to run the Jukin brand as co-CEO along with Lee Essner.

Trusted Media Brands was previously known as The Reader's Digest Association. It rebranded in 2015 under their current CEO, Bonnie Kintzer. This followed the company's second bankruptcy in five years as they struggled to adapt to changing reader demands in the face of new technologies. Since rebranding, Trusted Media Brands has taken a "digital first" approach to their content after a long legacy in print media.

With more than 220 million fans on social media and more than 2.5 billion minutes of video viewed each month, it's no surprise that Trusted Media Brands was attracted to Jukin Media.

"Somebody who has not been focusing on video, or that's not their core strength, I think acquiring an asset like us is gonna leapfrog them into the top of the rankings, particularly when they want to compete with folks like BuzzFeed and Group Nine," said Skogmo.

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