American digital media holding company Group Nine Media has hired Brian Lee as its first executive vice president of commerce. Before his appointment at Group Nine Media, he held a similar role AT Marker Studios before its acquisition by Disney. He is also the founder of New York-based accelerator SKIG.
Group Nine comprises Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo, and Seeker. The four brands and former brand Sourcefed merged to form Group Nine Media last October. Lee’s job at Group Nine Media includes merchandising, licensing, an affiliate advertising and direct-to-consumer goods.
“The company has some of the most known and impactful brands, coupled with the ability to leverage a host of deeply powerful insights,” Lee said in a statement. “It is uniquely positioned to make huge strides in this space and I can’t wait to get started.” Moreover, when I met with the company’s CEO Ben Lerer earlier this year, he laid out his vision for the company taking forward.
“We’re not building brands to be distributed over a paid TV pipe, not to sit back and watch on your TV passively,” Lerer said. “Instead, we’re building brands for effective content consumption that someone who’s grown up with a smartphone in their pocket patronizes. What we’re doing is shows and characters and telling stories that are meant to be delivered via social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter.”
We are trying to adopt a strategy where a publisher relies on third-party platforms to reach their audience, it has been proved disastrous for some digital media companies. But Lerer says the company is getting smarter about which shows to invest in: “We’re making less and less content that is disposable every month than we did the month before.”
In today’s announcement, the CEO said, “Group Nine has some of the most engaging brands on mobile, built around deeply dedicated communities of loyal fans so it’s imperative that we make the most of the opportunities that present.”