4 min read

Group Nine Media’s Mickey Meyer on Building the Long-form Programming of the Future

It’s been a year since our premiere of The Rough Cut in May of 2018. We’re really excited to kick-off season two with a new intro and a…
Group Nine Media’s Mickey Meyer on Building the Long-form Programming of the Future
Storyhunter Co-Founder Alex Ragir and Group Nine President of Network Mickey Meyer in G9’s LA offices.

It’s been a year since our premiere of The Rough Cut in May of 2018. We’re really excited to kick-off season two with a new intro and a new look (the show will also now be featured on Entrepreneur!). For the first episode of the season, Storyhunter Co-Founder Alex Ragir stops by Group Nine Media’s office in Los Angeles, to speak with Mickey Meyer, President of Network at Group Nine, and co-founder of Jash, the comedy agency acquired by Group Nine that was started by Michael Cera, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Sarah Silverman and Reggie Watts.

As always, Alex used Storyhunter to find his crew. Producer Nicholas Martins and DP Marcus Thomas linked up with Alex on a day’s notice to produce the episode. In the interview, Mickey and Alex discussed how to build brands and establish them in competitive marketplaces, the convergence of social and traditional media, and the importance of data in decision making.

The Full Length Episode of Season Two’s Debut Episode Featuring Mickey Meyer

Below are edited highlights from the conversation:

Recognize That Every Brand is Different

“Every brand is different in age, ability and needs. You have The Dodo brand, which is somewhat older, but it’s still very young as far as the kind of content it wants to make and where it wants to be inside of the social universe. Whereas Thrillist started ten years ago as an email newsletter, and they’ve now evolved into a significant player in the social video space.”

Act in Your Brand’s Best Interest, Not Your Own

“Startups often instinctively chase new revenue streams. For us, an example of this is selling off rights of our shows without any benefit to the brand image. It’s imperative for all decisions to realistically lead to the overall growth of your brand and not a trophy for your showcase, like having a program of yours on network television.”

Use Your Brand to Establish Relationships

“The Dodo does a fantastic job of producing content that is tailor-made to each social media network. Concerted efforts have resulted in The Dodo being the number one animal entertainment brand on Facebook, Instagram and many others. Thanks to this success, they’re now transitioning into the traditional media ecosystem through their partnership with Discovery which includes a show called Dodo Heroes. Twenty percent of the audience for the show are viewers that are new to Animal Planet. This relationship has paid off tremendously for both sides.”

Listen to What Your Data Tells You

“We have a show with The Dodo called Comeback Kids, which puts a spotlight on animals who fought and overcame adversity. After analyzing some of our data, we found that a lot of people really like these kinds of stories. Because of this, we started Comeback Kids, and now it averages over 30 million views per episode.”

Prepare to Adjust — Digital Media and Traditional Media are Converging

“All our brands are finding their way into that traditional ecosystem because that’s where the dollars lie. Digital is growing every single day, and it has emerging revenue streams, but it’d be ignorant to disregard the giant elephant in the room for digital: traditional media has a system and process that spits out a lot of money every single year.”

Build Products Around Your Brand’s Ethos

“When you mention traditional news, the immediate thought is talking heads on a TV screen. I think NowThis very savvily noticed that isn’t what they are, or what their ethos is. Their ethos revolves around equality, and they want to tell stories of it in a concise and aesthetically appealing manner. With the help of Storyhunter, they’ve pioneered a documentary-like format with text-on-screen, and a lot of consumers are adopting it as a new way to consume news. A lot of companies continue to emulate NowThis’s aesthetic.”

Differentiate Yourself From Your Competitors

“The problem with ‘hands and pans’ videos is that a lot of people are doing them. They would provide us with more reach, audience and engagements, but it wouldn’t further our brand. It’s not a core dependency of our business, and it’s also not something that we can benefit from developing into one. We want to think about the long term sustainability of our company. Content that will build value over time is content that breaks through the clutter of what people are watching and sticks.”

Incorporate DTC and Memberships Into Your Business Model

“The roles of direct-to-consumer and membership services will both continue to increase in how a lot of companies do business. It benefits both the company and the consumer, which can be rare. For the company, it’s a steady source of income, while advertising revenue often fluctuates. On the consumer end, membership services give them a deeper sense of engagement, which is something that consumers subconsciously want.”


Previous episodes of The Rough Cut:

Season One:

Courtney Coupe, VP of Content, Great Big Story

Stone Roberts, VP of Global Video Strategy, Refinery29

Jason Beauregard, Head of Studio, VaynerMedia

Zahra Rasool, Editorial Lead, Contrast VR

Warren Cohen, Head of Video, New York Post

Greg Gilderman, Global Head of Video and Editor-in-Chief, Weather Channel

Jamie Bolding, Founder and CEO, Jungle Creations

Craig Duff, Video Journalism Professor, Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism


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By Jake Watkins, Storyhunter Writer