Four digital media organizations are coming together to form a new holding company — and they’ve also raised $100 million in additional funding from Discovery Communications.
Those four companies are Thrillist (lifestyle), NowThis Media (video news), The Dodo (animals) and Discovery’s digital network Seeker (including its production studio SourceFed). Thrillist’s Ben Lerer will become CEO of the combined organization.
Why these companies? In the press release announcing the merger, Lerer described this as “truly a ‘win-win’ scenario,” allowing each brand to operate independently while tapping into the resources of “one of the best media and entertainment companies in the world.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
After the deal, advertisers will also be able to buy campaigns that run across all four properties.
And it’s worth noting that most of the merging companies have a Lerer family connection — NowThis was founded by Eric Hippeau and Ben Lerer’s father Ken (they were also among the founders of The Huffington Post and now invest through Lerer Hippeau Ventures), while The Dodo was founded by Ben’s sister Izzie (who will “continue to be responsible for the brand”).
While Discovery (which previously invested in The Dodo) will be a minority investor in Group Nine, it will have the option to buy a controlling stake. Axel Springer, which backed Thrillist and NowThis, will be the second largest shareholder in the company.
Group Nine says its brands collectively deliver 3.5 billion video views each month and have more than 12 billion monthly social impressions.