Group Nine Media Breeds New Licensing Opps

The company behind The Dodo, NowThis, Thrillist and Seeker plans licensing programs.
License Global

November 5, 2019

Group Nine Media Breeds New Licensing Opps

In April, Group Nine Media hired Brian Lee as its first executive vice president, commerce to build out a comprehensive licensing program for its video-first online brands The Dodo, its popular animal site; NowThis (online news), Thrillist (Group Nine’s lifestyle/food and beverage site) and science brand Seeker.

Since then, Lee has structured Group Nine Media’s licensing program by bucketing into categories that include experiential, consumer products and affiliate partnerships. New to licensing, the company which holds the title #1 video publisher on mobile is looking to work with like-minded companies who can leverage its highly engaged audience in the licensing space.

Group Nine Media currently works with Seltzer Licensing Group for Thrillist in the branded tours category and travel products, as well as For The Dodo in smart pet toys and fashion retail. They are open to more partnerships.

Group Nine Media recently worked with Scholastic to create children’s books based on three of The Dodo’s

hit shows. The licensing partnership marks the brand’s first expansion into book publishing and comes on the heels of the recent launch of The Dodo’s new children’s programming brand, Dodo Kids. The three books -

Pumpkin’s Story


50 Odd Couples

, and

Little But Fierce

- will be based on stories from The Dodo’s fan-favorite shows “Comeback Kids,” “Odd Couples” and “Little But Fierce.” “Pumpkin’s Story” will be available through Scholastic’s Book Fairs and Book Clubs this season, while “Little But Fierce” and “50 Odd Couples” will be released in Q1 2020. All three books by The Dodo will be available in retailers nationwide by Q1 2020.

The brand has also ventured into experiences. The Dodo’s Best Dog Day Ever experiential franchise has expanded from a one-day pop-up last year to a month-long experience this month in Brooklyn, New York. This year’s event, “Best Dog Day Ever: Halloween Edition,” offered dog-friendly activations such as a grooming station by Dyson and dog costume station from Target.

The Dodo has also teamed up with Airbnb for experiences, where travelers can choose five places across the U.S to interact with animals featured on The Dodo and their experts. This offering is a new way to meet animals and a counterpoint to traditional animal tourism. Experiences include: Adventuring with Penni the Dog in Arizona; Picnic with Pickles the Pig in the San Francisco Bay Area; Living the Ruff Life with Lee Asher in Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Cow Safari with Brianna and Winter at Skyland Sanctuary in Wantage, New Jersey and In the Kitchen with Nala the Cat in central California.

Thrillist is also getting into the experience realm. The brand hosts Hotel Thrillist, a weekend-long celebration held at a hotel in various cities. It just completed its ninth event in Denver. Group Nine Media will host Thrillist’s inaugural 100 Course Meal, an interactive culinary event held at Hudson Loft from Dec. 6-8 in Los Angeles, Calif. The 100 Course Meal merges theatrics, technique and flavor curated by the city’s top culinary and beverage talent.

The Dodo also launched a consumer products line this year. The Sock Club/Dodo line includes six socks, each featuring a critically-endangered species. Six rescue organization partners that specialize in preserving the respective endangered species were brought on for the collaboration, and 10 percent of the proceeds of each sock will be donated to them.

All of Group Nine Media’s channels on Instagram also have the shopping feature enabled. The company is currently working to populate The Dodo catalog with merch from its site.

The Dodo also has a project with NBC on merchandise for the network’s Clear The Shelters program. The NBC Store hosted a kick-off event with adoptable dogs from the MuddyPaws Shelter while attendees shopped. Merchandise is still available for purchase at


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