Discovery Communications said it has agreed to invest $100 million in a new digital content company, Group Nine Media, which consists of Thrillist Media Group, NowThis Media, The Dodo and Discovery’s digit network Seeker.
Merging of the millennial-focused brands will create in Group Nine Media one of the largest digital-first media companies. Axel Springer will maintain its investment as the second largest shareholder. Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist, will become CEO of Group Nine Media.
Discovery will have a strategic partnership with Group Nine Media.
“Today marks the start of a strong new company with tremendous brands, reach and scale,” said David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery Communications. “The merger of these assets will bring together best-in-class management, led by Ben and his team, expertise in data analytics technology and global reach to create one of the world’s largest digital-first content companies attracting young passionate enthusiasts that advertisers want to reach.”
Traditional media companies have been investing in digital content creators because they are fast growing and reach elusive millennial consumers.
The partnership between Discovery and Group Nine Media will include a commercial agreement that will enable advertisers to reach their desired audience across multiple platforms including linear, digital, social and live events.
“This is truly a ‘win-win’ scenario, allowing our brands the opportunity to remain independent and build our own future, while at the same time, having the support of one of the best media and entertainment companies in the world,” said Ben Lerer, 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. We will be stronger brands working together - we will have more influence; we will have better data and insights; we will be better partners to our advertisers; and most importantly, we will be substantial enough to make a real difference and stay ahead of the market."