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GROUP NINE MEDIA RAISES $50 MILLION IN NEW FUNDING FROM LEAD INVESTOR DISCOVERY AND STRATEGIC PARTNER AXEL SPRINGER

Parent of The Dodo, NowThis, Thrillist and Seeker is the #1 Video Publisher on Mobile in the U.S.; Reaching over 70% of Americans in Their 20s
Company Release
September 9, 2019

NEW YORK, NY (September 9, 2019) – Group Nine Media, the #1 video publisher on mobile in the U.S. - and parent company of NowThis, The Dodo, Thrillist and Seeker - today announced that it has raised $50 million in new funding from its lead investor Discovery, Inc. and strategic partner Axel Springer SE. Group Nine was formed in December 2016 with an initial investment by Discovery of $100 million. Since Group Nine’s roll-up: 

--The Dodo has become the #1 most engaged-with media brand on mobile in the world and the #1 animal brand on digital [Tubular, July 2019]. 

--NowThis is now the #1 most-viewed news brand on digital in the U.S. [Nielsen DCR, July 2019] with the most-viewed news pages on Facebook, and the #1 news account on Twitter [Tubular, July 2019].

--Seeker has become the #1 science brand on mobile in the U.S. [Nielsen DCR, July 2019]

--Thrillist is now a top three publisher for food, drink and travel
in the U.S. on mobile [Nielsen DCR, July 2019].

--Group Nine has production deals with more than 20 different channels and platforms including Discovery, Netflix, and Comedy Central among others.

--Cumulatively, Group Nine audiences spend nearly 50 million hours a month with the company’s brands. 

--Group Nine has doubled revenue since its formation from areas including advertising, content distribution and original content sales and licensing. 

“In a rapidly changing industry, it’s easy to get distracted,” said Ben Lerer, CEO of Group Nine. “Our commitment to executing on our original vision has been a real advantage that has allowed us to build best-in-class brands supported by a mature multi-brand infrastructure. This strong vote of confidence from our investors underscores the fact that we have the right model for a next generation diversified media company and we’re incredibly well-positioned to lean in - even while others are stepping back. More to come.” 

“Group Nine is the standout in the evolving mobile ecosystem,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery, Inc. “Under the leadership of a fantastic executive team, they have category-defining brands that connect with young audiences through the best short, mid and long-form storytelling on mobile. Group Nine is a great fit with our strategy to aggregate and delight global passion audiences everywhere they consume video. We are proud to deepen our relationship with Group Nine through our additional investment.”

Jan Bayer, President News Media International at Axel Springer SE said “We’ve been initial investors in Thrillist and NowThis since the beginning and have been side-by-side investors with Lerer Hippeau for years. Ben and the Group Nine team’s vision for what it takes to create a real digital winner has been steadfast and its been backed-up by truly impressive growth. We’re firm believers in strong talent, powerful brands and premium content so we’re proud to continue to partner with Group Nine, a company that shares these priorities, as they continue to execute and outpace the market.” 

Both Discovery, Inc. and Axel Springer SE will retain a minority stake in Group Nine with Discovery as the lead investor. The new funds will be used for continued IP investments across Group Nine brands and to fuel growth of its newly-launched commerce division. The funds will also be used for potential strategic acquisitions. In addition to this round of investment, Discovery, Axel Springer SE and Lerer Hippeau invested $40M in a follow-on round in Group Nine in November 2017. 

Group Nine’s brand extensions include commerce, licensing and merchandise. The company also hosts multiple experiential events from the popular “Hotel Thrillist,” now in its 9th year, to The Dodo’s new “Best Dog Day Ever,” a month-long dog-focused event launching this fall.

Group Nine’s collaboration with Discovery, Inc. includes co-selling advertising campaigns across linear, mobile and experiential. Group Nine has also produced social content for Discovery on key initiatives including “Shark Week” and “Inside the Royal Wedding.” The companies have partnered on multiple cross-platform content initiatives from Seeker’s The Swim, a project covering long-distance swimmer Ben Lecomte’s historic attempt to cross the 5,000-mile Pacific Ocean to Confessions from Space, a televised special event on Discovery featuring six of the heroes of the Apollo Mission to honor the anniversary of the moon landing. In 2018, Animal Planet and The Dodo launched the network’s first global, cross-platform franchise, Dodo Heroes. One fifth of the show’s audience was new to Animal Planet. Season two of the series premiered in June. 

About Group Nine:
Group Nine’s mission is to tell great stories that spark action and make a real difference. As the #1 video publisher on mobile in the U.S. [Nielsen DCR, July 2019], Group Nine's brands are built for the platforms where young people spend the majority of their time. We reach over 70% of Americans in their 20s every month [Nielsen, July 2019]. Audiences spend nearly 50 million hours a month engaging with our category-defining brands - NowThis, the no. 1 most-watched mobile news brand in the world; The Dodo, the no. 1 animal brand on digital; Thrillist, the most-trusted digital brand in food, drink, travel & entertainment; and Seeker, the no. 1 science brand in the U.S. In 2017, Group Nine acquired Emmy nominated, Cannes Lion and Sundance Film Festival award-winning production studio, JASH. Group Nine has been recognized with hundreds of prestigious awards including Edward R. Murrow, James Beard, Cannes Lion, Critic’s Choice, among others. 

About Discovery, Inc.: 
Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Eurosport Player and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, and Science Channel, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.

About Axel Springer SE: 
Axel Springer is a media and technology company and active in more than 40 countries. By providing information across its diverse media brands (among others BILD, WELT, BUSINESS INSIDER, POLITICO Europe) and classifieds portals (StepStone Group and AVIV Group) Axel Springer SE empowers people to make free decisions for their lives. In the US, Axel Springer has built a broad portfolio of around twenty investments with majority stakes in Insider Inc., eMarketer and AppCast as well as minorities in Group Nine Media, Magic Leap, Airbnb, Nextdoor, Ozy as well as fund investments such as Lerer Hippeau and SV Angel. Today, the transformation from a traditional print media company to Europe’s leading digital publisher has been successfully accomplished. The next goal has been identified: Axel Springer wants to become global market leader in digital content and digital classifieds through accelerated growth. The company is headquartered in Berlin and employs more than 16,300 people worldwide. In the fiscal year 2018, Axel Springer generated 71 percent of revenues with its digital activities which also contributed 84 percent to earnings (adj. EBITDA).

CONTACT:

April Mellody

Group Nine Media

(646) 218-9312

Devon Giddon

Group Nine Media

(646) 218-9312

Pierce White

(646) 218-9312

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