When Discovery invested $100mn in a new holding company for lifestyle publisher Thrillist last year, reports said it made CEO Ben Lerer a “new media mogul“.

So what is Lerer doing with the money? Having formed Group Nine Media  to operate Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker, he now runs a mini media company that is helping one of the big broadcasters get good at digital.

Speaking with Beet.TV in this video interview at the Digital Content NewFronts, where he pitched the offering, Lerer said partnerships between Discovery and Group Nine Media will work both ways:

  • giving Group Nine brands “a new life by living in linear as well”.
  • “our brands creating new formats like 22-minute TV shows that live in video”.
  • “their brands starting to extend in to digital, creating shorter-form content to connect between episodes”.
  • “taking IP that they have – Shark Week, Animal Planet – and finding new homes for that in digital”.
  • “most excitingly, creating new IP together”.

Specifically, tie-ups include:

  • Best Meal Ever: a hook-up with TLC to make short-form content that airs between its TV shows.
  • War & Pizza: a show due to be released on both digital and linear.
  • Several virtual reality series.
  • NowThis Sports becoming an official content partner with EuroSport.
  • Best (Dog) Day Ever and Animal Heroes, two new multi-format shows.
  • Animal Eye View, a virtual reality series helping viewers to experience a day in the life of a pet.

Lerer recalls why he decided to partner with Discovery: “Digital platforms were starting to resemble the MVPDs of 30 years ago. Big media brands were going to be built on them the same way the cable channels got built.

“I had one of those brands … in Thrillist. It wasn’t a brand that dealt in video, but I knew it needed to become one.  We could wait to get acquired … or we could build the next holding company.”

Specifically, the old company and the new one have things to learn from each other.

“Digital and TV are starting to collide,” Lerer adds. “Traditional media companies need real conviction around digital future, digital media companies can benefit from the scale that TV still provides.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts 2017. The series is sponsored by the IAB. For more videos from the #NewFronts, please visit this page.