Audience Engagement Top Stories
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“We must meet our audience where they are”: Why TMB launched a streaming channel for Family Handman

At Home with Family Handyman is the first CTV channel to launch from a TMB legacy brand, and marks a milestone in the brand’s evolution from a 70-year-old magazine to become a multi-platform media brand. WNIP talked to TMB’s CEO and President Bonnie Kintzer to find out more…

Trusted Media Brands, the U.S. publisher whose legacy portfolio includes Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home, and Birds & Blooms, has launched a FAST channel for its 70-year-old Family Handyman brand.

FAST is the acronym given to free, ad-supported streaming TV services, a rapidly expanding format that is time-dependent and delivered in a linear viewing format – essentially no different from watching a TV network. The chief difference is that programming is streamed via third-party platforms such as Pluto TV, Tubi, Roku, XUMO, Sling TV, and others.

At Home with Family Handyman, the first CTV channel to launch from a TMB legacy brand, will now join over 1400 U.S. FAST Channels (a competitive landscape to say the least) and is the latest move by the publisher to become, in its own words, a ‘community-driven, multi-media entertainment company’.

(There has been) a tremendous uptick in channels over the course of the last year, as content creators realize the best way to reach an audience is to go to them rather than demand that they follow you.

Gavin Bridge, Variety FAST Report

It follows TMB’s acquisition of social video specialist Jukin Media for $100M in August 2021 which at a stroke gave it the resources and know-how to rapidly scaleup its distributed video ambitions, as well as provide the publisher with a ready-made portfolio of successful, franchisable brands including FailArmy, People Are Awesome, The Pet Collective, and WeatherSpy.

According to TMB, the acquisition of Jukin Media has seen the publisher quadruple its audience to over 200M people as well as increase streaming revenue by 46% YOY. In fact, current video viewership across streaming TV and social media now generates more than 2 billion minutes of video viewership each month for TMB.

Doubling down on video content

Speaking to WNIP over email, TMB’s CEO and President Bonnie Kintzer says that TMB ​has invested heavily in new, original programming and in little over eight months has hired 100 new employees including an SVP of Original Programming, Chris Rantamaki (formerly of Warner Bros. Discovery), “We have increased production budgets threefold and produced more than 1,000 episodes of premium TV and streaming programming for networks including Fox, MTV, Facebook, Sinclair’s TBD Network, and others.

Globally, our TMB-produced content has appeared on networks in more than 200 territories such as Channel 5 (UK), City TV (Canada), Sky Italia (Italy), TV 3 (New Zealand), and Foxtel (Australia).

TMB CEO and President Bonnie Kintzer

The strategy, according to Kintzer, is clear, “It’s important, and a big part of our strategy, to meet our audience where they are and with a third of American households pivoting to streaming it’s a natural step in the evolution of our brands.”

Family Handyman (AVOD/YouTube channel)

TMB chose Family Handyman over its other legacy brands for a number of reasons, not least the success of Family Handyman videos on AVOD platforms (YouTube etc) and social media, allied to a strongly passionate, loyal audience which gave TMB confidence that longer formats would be successful.

Future Plans

TMB’s plans for the channel include ramping up the design and decorating content which, according to Kintzer, “appeals to our strong female demographic and are wildly popular topics on cable and streaming.” As if to underline the evolution in the brand’s demographic, Kinzter says that in 2022, “the brand appointed its first ever female content director, Amy Novak”.

The Family Handyman audience has evolved greatly in recent years to the point that more than 50% of our audience is female; with more women than ever owning homes there is a demand for reliable, instructional home content — and that’s something Family Handyman has been providing for over 70 years. 

TMB CEO and President Bonnie Kintzer

New and original programming planned by TMB includes Pet Palaces (one-of-a-kind homes for pets); Best Builds Countdown (the best builds shared from homeowners around the globe); and The Outdoor Show (outdoor builds such as patios, decks and sanctuaries). Kintzer adds that TMB are also licensing programming from other content producers, “some of which has never aired before in the U.S”.

The channel is now live on XUMO, and it’s coming this fall to both Sling TV and Plex, and we have additional partners that will be announced shortly thereafter.

TMB CEO and President Bonnie Kintzer

FAST streaming, however, isn’t for every publisher – it demands considerable investment. In a candid reply to our question on programming budgets, Kintzer comments that TMB has gone all-in on the financial commitment needed to be successful, “The budgets can range on a per (30-min.) episode basis from $10K to $100K+.”

However, get the strategy right, and the rewards are clear, “Our launch of the CTV streaming channel marks a milestone in Family Handyman’s evolution to become a multi-platform media brand that now attracts 9.2M unique monthly web visitors, 3.2M social followers, as well as a loyal 7.7M print audience.”