A LOOK AT THE PARENTING MARKET IN THE UNITED STATES & WHY TODOBEBE WAS THE COMPANY TO CHANGE IT
By Gillian Sandler
Seventy years ago (1938), when the first parenting magazine was born, there were no televisions, and the fields of pediatric, prenatal, maternal healthcare,
and early childhood education barely existed. Vaccines for children had not yet been developed. A baby conceived in a test tube was science fiction.
In 1999, 60 years later, when Todobebé first began to build its portfolio of properties, the “parenting media” market had barely evolved – it consisted of a few
magazine and book titles that were syndicated globally; the first parenting websites were only a few years old, and none of them belonged to the main
parenting publishing titles. Over 80% of products and toys for babies and children were still sold in mom and pop and specialty stores, Babies R Us was just 3
years old, and the likes of Wal-Mart and Target did not have dedicated or robust maternity, baby, or toy departments.
Why hadn’t any of the parenting titles grown into multimedia entertainment companies in the decades since they were created? The magazines were housed
inside the publishing departments of 3 large media/publishing conglomerates – Time Warner (Parenting Group), Bertlesmann (Parents), and Primedia
(American Baby), they were mature businesses responsible for contributing predictable income to the bottom line, they did not have flexibility to invest and
take risk; their human capital talent was ad page sales and editorial, and their operational advantage was leveraging these resources over multiple titles, not
over multiple media. The demographic of parents raising children 0 to 5 years old was not a focus of the biggest national advertisers, and the concept of
segmented and life stage marketing on a large scale was still underdeveloped, so the dollars weren’t there to create competitive alternatives to magazines.
Martha Stewart Living was a unique company that provided a new model for building a multimedia lifestyle brand with licensing opportunities, but it was still
2 years away from signing its long term Kmart deal, and there were issues that made it a challenging long term model for a company in the field of parenting;
it was tied into one personality and style, it did not have a TV format packaged, and it could not be translated into other cultures, languages, and geographies.
So it was not a proven model for large companies to try to replicate in the category of parenting.
At the same time in the United States the majority of Hispanic marketing dollars were being spent on Univision, and the magazine and book market was tiny.
The first Internet portals for Spanish speakers were only a year old. The budgets of most major advertisers were too small to allow for large-scale integrated
campaigns and targeted strategies. Retailers, banks, the government, product packaging, service providers, were not set up to service a bilingual market. The
2000 Census that confirmed to the world how large the U.S. Hispanic market had become in a decade, was still 2 years away from being published.
Even without the census information, the overwhelming need in the Spanish market of the United States was already clear. The CDC published the
demographics of U.S. births on an annual basis. And in every major city one had only to walk into the children’s hospitals and maternity wards or talk to a
doctor or a pharmacist, or to a teacher working in head starts across the country to understand the depth of the need among Spanish speaking parents. There
was no market for parenting information because there was no parenting information. There was no market for Television or radio shows around the
adventures of parenting because no such programs existed. There were no products in stores, because there were no retailers equipped to identify and
segment their own stores. No advertisers were spending money on the segment for all of these reasons.
Todobebe was deeply familiar with all of these companies and market realities, and saw a different world rapidly evolving over the next decade in the U.S.
and globally, that would create the opportunity to develop a new kind of company that could serve a great and growing global need in the area of parenting in
a way that magazines had never been able to do; and that the .com craze had not yet inspired, but would surely help enable over time. An opportunity created
by the convergence and globalization of cultures, media, technology, medicine, entertainment, content, finance, products. A need created by changing
demographics, developing markets, globalization of TV formats, the penetration of the Internet, the advancement in genetics and medicine, the ups and downs
of market economies, the challenges of parenting in a new world.
So Todobebé started a multi-year plan to build by investing in content, trademarks, case studies, radio and TV formats, and research. The company’s strategy
rested on two core components: 1) the creation and distribution of evergreen branded entertainment comprised of credible, simple-to-understand content for
Spanish-speaking parents expecting and raising children 0 to 5 years old in the U.S. and Latin America, and 2) the generation of advertiser and licensing case
studies that would ultimately turn the potential in the market into a viable global business model.
During the same years Todobebe was building, Meredith Corp bought 2 of the 3 major parenting media groups from Primedia and Bertlesmann, spending
over half a billion dollars, the majority calculated as goodwill / intangibles tied to the magazine titles. In 2006 a private equity group bought the third from
Time Warner as a part of an 18 title publishing acquisition. J&J leads the digital space in English through its acquired property “Babycenter.com” and its
URL’s pregnancy and baby.com. Starting 2005, more companies began to enter the space in English through digital and cable, including Disney and
Today, of the 4,100,000 new U.S. births every year, 25% are born to Hispanic parents, and another 20% to other ethnic minorities. What was once the
traditional mom market controlled by magazines, is now a dispersed consumer market with access to on demand information across multiple media channels.
National retail chains now have baby, children and toy departments. TV formats are marketed globally in every country in the world prior to production.
Network programmers, newspapers, radio stations, advertisers, and individuals, are finally all asking the same questions: What will the future bring? How
will technology change us? How can we use it to improve what we have to offer? Who, what will become irrelevant or obsolete? How can we differentiate
ourselves? The old are young, the young old. What divides us? What connects us?
And suddenly the secret is out. Moms are powerful. Dads are relevant. A child’s life before school affects the quality of opportunity for a lifetime. TV is not
everything but it’s definitely something. “Licensing, multi-media, content, must lead to a business model that makes it all work”. The gates are open.
And Todobebe, in its 10th year, is the only major parenting media brand in the Spanish market, and the only company in the world in any language to offer
integrated branded properties across all media serving families expecting and raising children 0 to 5 years old.
So given the open gates, and magazines fading in importance and relevance, and much larger billion $ companies vying for a piece of the market--- where does
Todobebé fall? Todobebé benefits from 1) having a unique value proposition consisting of family formats in mediums untouched by most traditional
“parenting media” companies, 2) ownership of its content assets, trademarks, URL’s, scripts, databases, formats, 3) advertiser relationships and clients that
are the largest global consumer advertisers and the most stable in health and weak economic environments, 4) a reputation as a trusted leader in this segment
among many consumers, broadcasters, and organizations, and 5) zero debt, and a flexible human resource and organizational structure tied to revenue
Why haven’t the TV producers, networks or major entertainment companies built a company like Todobebé, Inc? The TV networks operate like a portfolio
and their best talent and biggest investments and advertising dollars need to go into their highest revenue generating areas, prime time, news and sports.
Accounting standards and complex or antiquated rights agreements made it difficult to profitably leverage content and human resources across media.
Segmented media and digital business models were new. The TV production companies did not have the incentive to develop advertising and marketing
services capabilities because their revenue streams came from work for hire or licensing contracts that did not allow them to own ad inventory or control the
marketing of the content, or the commercialization outside of Television.
Industries and businesses take time to react and change. Global penetration of cable TV and broadband digital access, the globalization of TV formats, were
all new revolutions and the direct impact on industry and business models took a decade. In the past five years, the companies with the largest cash flows also
took on the most debt; now as the economy deteriorates, there is no choice but for these companies to adapt, adjust or restructure.
Different skill sets are needed in this new world. The individuals who make up Todobebé ask difficult questions about every media and technology and stay
abreast of what is happening in the parenting space in the U.S. and internationally. With all the institutions, advertisers, companies in its space, Todobebé
was the only one to create a family and parenting entertainment brand across, radio, TV, digital, promotions in more than one country.
About Todobebe, Inc.
Founded in 1999, Todobebé, Inc is a global media company dedicated to the adventures of parenting. Its core branded properties include quot;Todobebéquot; or quot;All
things Babyquot;, and quot;Viva La Familiaquot; or quot;Hooray for Familyquot;, and provide the best in family entertainment and expert advice to millions of Spanish speakers
worldwide through national broadcast TV formats, radio content, digital community and content websites, multi-media and in-home promotions, and music,
book, and product licensing. Since its launch a decade ago, Todobebé has been nominated for an Emmy, produced over 150 episodes, received the U.S.
Surgeon General’s first national pioneer award, and created a 360 degree platform for Fortune 100 advertisers to simulate ownership and integrate their
brand within an exclusive, star studded, entertaining and family friendly context.
About Viva La Familia.
Todobebé's Viva La Familia properties include a Viva La Familia branded multi-media promotions platform and the Viva La Familia TV show. The popular
family TV show is a one-hour format in which dreams come true, Todobebé comes to the rescue, and children entertainers join in the fun. The 2008 debut
episode of the popular weekly TV show on the Univision Network captured the highest national ratings in the time slot among 18 to 34 year olds, beating
ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC. The shows are licensed for broadcast and pay TV by Televisa in Mexico. The multi-media Viva La Familia promotions
platform offers the chance for moms with babies and young children to host and attend branded parties nationwide with their friends and families where
surprises happen, products are sampled, and learning is full of fun. Advertisers participate with sampling, research, and experiential marketing reaching over
150,000 partygoers in homes and tens of millions of media impressions nationwide.
Sample History of Clients in the U.S., Mexico, and/or Colombia: Clorox, P&G, J&J, Fisher Price, Walmart, Nestle, Kimberly Clark.