Thriving During a Digital Media Apocalypse | AppsFlyer

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Tastemade Says Its Thriving During the Digital Media Apocalypse

August 19, 2020



Jeffrey Imberman, Head of Sales and Brand Partnerships at Tastemade dishes on how the food-centric media brand figures out ways to produce content and sell advertising that it doesn’t control across the large platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. Jeff also hits on how his team has adjusted to making content for brands faster during the pandemic and why Tastemade is even bothering with a live linear TV network.



Mike (19s):

Hey guys, this is Mike Shields and this week on Next in Marketing I got to talk to Jeffrey Imberman, Head of Sales and Brand Partnerships at Tastemade. We talked about how digital media companies need to prioritize making content for every different social media platform, how his company is working to make custom content for brands much faster in the COVID-19 world, and why Tastemade is so bullish on a live streaming network on OTT. Let’s get started. Hey everybody. I’ve got a great guest here, his name is Jeff Imberman and he’s from Tastemade. Give us your title, Jeff.

Jeff (47s):

Head of Sales and Global Partnerships.

Mike (50s):

Okay, so you’re the revenue guy, the Brand Partnership guy, at Tastemade. I know Tastemade well, I know the company for a long time. I don’t know if everybody and the audience knows you guys’ completely. People are probably going to guess food something, but give us the lay of the land and what Tastemade is all about?

Jeff (1m 4s):

Sure, you know, Tastemade we like to think of ourselves as a modern media company that engages a global audience of about 300 million monthly viewers, across digital, mobile, streaming, television platforms. We create award-winning content, original content in food, travel and home & design. Think of us as a lifestyle brand for today’s consumers and global community.

Mike (1m 32s):

So are you like more of a modern day cable network? Is that a good comparison?

Jeff (1m 37s):

Interesting comparison. You know, people have said you’re kinda like a modern version of Scripps or Discovery and we don’t necessarily shy away from that. You know, we don’t want it to be a slight against any of those legacy media companies because there are terrific companies, but in some respects we’re a, we’re a modern version of, of some of those legacy media companies. I often say that if you were going to build a media company today, it would look very much like Tastemade.

Jeff (2m 11s):

It wouldn’t be reliant on an app. It wouldn’t be a cable television network. It would do all of those things and do it well and meet the consumer on their terms, you know, versus building kind of a walled garden and expecting them to come to you.

Mike (2m 26s):

Well, I guess the difference or the problem with the analogy perhaps is that your a consumer brand right? Where people don’t know Scripp’s necessarily, they know Discovery, I guess, they know the Food Network. But you’ve built a consumer brand with the original content, but it wasn’t always the case. Right? I think it was more written it initially tell me if I’m correct, you were built around and a lot of influencers?

Jeff (2m 46s):

Yeah, I think early on, you know, because we’ve been in the space for, you know, eight plus years at this stage, early on the space for mid form and short form content was not professionalized. Right? It was kind of a pro-sumer probably at that point.

Mike (3m 4s):

So it was primarily YouTube, right?

Jeff (3m 6s):

Yeah. We had YouTube was kind of exploding. We were born out of that world. Yes, so I would say influences were a big part of that, you know, we call them Tastemakers. You know, we’ve since evolved into a model that is a combination of all of those, where we’ve got longstanding hosts and talent that do a lot of great work for us, yet all the while I was still engaging new voices from across, you know, the digital landscape.

Whether it be someone who is creating an amazing travel blog, who has an interesting perspective or someone who’s a home chef, who’s really telegenic and has a really specific voice.

Jeff (3m 47s):

We like to source talent and create content across the spectrum.

Mike (3m 52s):

It’s interesting that you make, you mentioned, you described yourself as how you would build a modern media company. It hasn’t been a good time to say your in the media business the last couple of years, any of the newer brands that were venture backed all the sudden, the last couple years we were hearing about how hard it was, the ad market was drying up. It was getting tough. And now you had this pandemic, are you guys have been somewhat immune to that? I assume that is because you are primarily video and not based on text based journalists, kind of reporting. Why, why do you think that is?

Jeff (4m 21s):

Yeah, I think that’s exactly it Mike, you know, I don’t want to say that we, we have less risk in our model than other legacy publishers or programmers out there, but because of the way we’re constructed as a company and not overly reliant on any one platform or tactic. I think we had a little bit of immunity, so to speak. If we were a pure play digital publisher, we would probably be in a different place right now. Or if we were just a cable network, we’d be in a different place.

Jeff (4m 54s):

But I think following the audience wherever they are, whether it be on Pinterest or Twitter or Snap or Facebook for that matter, or on our streaming network that we’ve built, it has allowed us to be able to shift our emphasis during these tough times, whether it be from a program perspective or from a tactical ad perspective with our partners. I think, that’s allowed us to kinda, you know, come out of this or not even come out of it because we are still in the midst, but…

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Meet our host, Mike Shields

Mike Shields is the founder of Shields Strategic Consulting. Shields covered the ad business for over 15 years at top publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Adweek and Digiday.

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