Group Nine, a portfolio of four digital media brands launched on the heels of a $100 million investment by Discovery Communications in October, presented yesterday evening for the first time at the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts. All told, Group Nine’s brands — food and travel-themed Thrillist; left-leaning news site NowThis; The Dodo, about all things animals; and science-focused Seeker — deliver 4.3 billion monthly video views, said CEO Ben Lerer.
Thrillist announced several new series at the NewFronts, including a long-form pizza-making competition series called War & Pizza that will span digital and linear distribution channels. In the second quarter, Thrillist will also launch Best Meal Ever, a multi-platform short series in which popular TLC personalities (TLC is also owned by Discovery) will discuss their favorite food.
Former Vice and CNN correspondent Kaj Larsen has joined NowThis, and his first series for the network will live at the intersection of sports and politics, the news network announced. NowThis, which clocks 2.5 billion views per month on Facebook, also previewed a 10-episode series called Her Stories, profiling unknown but extraordinary women, as well as the launch this fall of a brand new vertical: NowThis Sports.
The Dodo, for its part, announced its own new sub-brand called Little Dodo that will offer animal-centric content for preschoolers, bowing later this year. The Dodo also unveiled Animal Heroes, a multi-platform series about people who are going above and beyond for animals, as well as Best (Dog) Day Ever, about rescues finding their forever families.
And finally, Seeker is focused chiefly on VR programming in the year ahead, including The Edge (in which VR cameras will be sent to untouched corners of the planet) and Ceremonies (which will take viewers inside various festivals across the globe).
Last week, Group Nine announced a partnership with marketing agency DigitasLBi that will enable brands to take their existing content and transform it into snackable videos distributed across Group Nine’s social channels.