The DMO attended The Fresh Toast’s recent Milestone Celebration in New York City given our content partnership with the publication. The Fresh Toast, a.k.a. TFT, is a lifestyle/entertainment site with a side of cannabis. Like us, they entered the crowded digital market in October of 2016 and quickly pulled above most of their cannabis competitors.
Designed as a lifestyle site, they provide fresh and original content on a daily basis attracting a large millennial, Gen Y and Gen X audience. According to their recent Alexa numbers, TFT outranks industry publications like Dope, Culture and Civilized. What is more interesting is a deeper dive into what their analytics reveal.
Unlike their competitors, they have near parity when it comes to female/male readers. From Google Analytics, they have prominent readership in California, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington but 40% of their traffic comes from red states including Florida, Texas and Georgia (the majority of states with medical marijuana states are red states) - critical for public messaging around national legislation. Beyond that, over 20% of their readers return on a daily basis.
This event was their public announcement of their first set of partnerships. The most interesting is their syndicating content to the NY Daily News. In his speech, NY Daily News Digital EVP Grant Whitmore commented that their readers are enjoying the content. This is the first time a mainstream newspaper consistently provides lifestyle and medical cannabis information integrated in their content mix. TFT also announced syndication deals with Salon.com, The Seattle Times, Pioneer Newspapers and Out Magazine.
“In the Daily News’ commitment to provide quality, entertaining and relative content to millions of our readers, we are delighted to be the first of many newspaper partners of The Fresh Toast for both cannabis and lifestyle content. Traffic demonstrates that our audience appreciates the daily dose of The Fresh Toast,” says Grant Whitmore, executive vice president of digital for the Daily News. The New York Daily News is a leading national news organization reaching 40 million monthly users in digital and print.
CannabisClub TV is another interesting new partner of TFT. This company is on a roll providing video and content to cannabis stores across the US. They are currently in 300 stories and have projections of 2,000 stores on both coasts by the later part of 2018.
The Fresh Toast editor-in-chief, Kelly Barbieri, is based in NYC along with several key team members. Six days a week they produce 15-18 pieces of original content and also have a partnership with Naughty Gossip to share fresh gossip on a daily basis. They are also building respected content partners like CannaLaw Blog. As we look at their Contributing Editors they have an impressive list including Sol Ross, a former Obama HHS executive and John Hudak.
“We believe there is a large hole in the market for the mainstream, the canna-curious and the canna newbie, to get information, learn and eventually vision marijuana and as alternative to wine or aspirin” says JJ McKay, the Founder and Publisher of The Fresh Toast. McKay came to the industry with strong consumer focused credentials including working with Tina Brown. The guests list had solid media presence with the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, Yahoo, The New Yorker and ABC executives.
In talking with McKay, the TFT currently has three revenue streams and, with funding, should be cash flow positive by end of first quarter 2018. Their board members and advisors are impressive and investors include retailer Dan Nordstrom, airline industry executive Glenn Johnson and former Seattle Times president Carolyn Kelly.
According to investment documents acquired by The Daily Marijuana Observer, The Fresh Toast has raised $1.8 million dollars and has a current market value of $6.5 million. In our conversations with the investor community, it is felt that TFT is undervalued, especially with their current and upcoming partner mix.