Discovery Makes $100M Digital Investment In Group Nine Media

Thrillist Media Group, NowThis Media, The Dodo and Discovery’s digital network Seeker — as well as its production studio SourceFed Studios — are merging to form a new media company, called Group Nine Media.

Discovery Communications is making a minority investment of $100 million in the new company.

Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist will become CEO of Group Nine Media.

“Each of our brands has found great success independently, but with consolidation of digital content companies around the corner, there is extraordinary value in all existing under one multi-brand roof,” Lerer stated.

Almost all of the merging companies have a connection to the Lerer family. NowThis was founded by Eric Hippeau and Ben Lerer’s father Ken and The Dodo was founded by Ben’s sister Izzie, according to TechCrunch.



Axel Springer will maintain its investment as Group Nine Media’s second-largest shareholder. In the future, Discovery will have an option to buy a controlling stake in Group Nine Media, according to a statement.

The partnership between Discovery and Group Nine Media includes a commercial agreement that will enable advertisers to buy campaigns that run across all four properties.

Group Nine Media is an expansion of Discovery’s “push into the digital network space targeting millennials,” the company stated. 

In 2013, the company bought Seeker and SourceFed Studios, known then as the DeFranco Creative, a group of online video channels and ventures. Discovery also led rounds of funding in The Dodo in 2014 and 2015. 

The brands’ sales teams and content studios will be combined to create a “core advertising solutions group.” Technology capabilities from Thrillist and NowThis will become a new publishing platform that will power all of Group Nine Media’s brands.

A centralized, long-form video department will be charged with creating OTT/on-demand and linear TV programming across all properties, leveraging Seeker’s production capabilities and program development.

The brands will each remain editorially independent.

According to Discovery Communications, the millennial-focused Group Nine Media is now one of the largest digital content companies, with over 3.5 billion monthly video views and more than 12 billion monthly social impressions.

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