Group Nine Media Buys Jash, Digital Comedy Studio Whose Partners Include Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman
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Discovery Communications-backed Group Nine Media has acquired Jash, the digital comedy studio whose founders include Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim and Reggie Watts.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. New York-based Group Nine was formed last year with a $100 million investment from Discovery, combining three startups backed by Lerer Hippeau Ventures — Thrillist, NowThis Media and the Dodo — with Seeker (formerly Discovery Digital Networks).

The 35-employee Jash will remain based in Culver City, Calif. Jash CEO Daniel Kellison and president/COO Mickey Meyer will report to Suzanne Kolb, Group Nine’s chief brand officer.

Jash’s original productions are distributed on Jash.com, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon Video Direct, Verizon’s Go90 and Pluto TV, among other platforms. It also has produced TV series and specials for Comedy Central, Netflix, TBS and MTV.

Jash was formed in 2013 as a YouTube channel under the platform’s original-channels initiative. The company’s founders include Daniel Kellison, former executive producer of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Late Show with David Letterman”; Doug DeLuca, former co-executive producer of “Jimmy Kimmel Live”; and Mickey Meyer, executive producer of Maker Studios’ “Epic Rap Battles of History”; in addition to Silverman, Cera, Watts, Heidecker and Wareheim.

“The Jash acquisition catapults our brands forward much like the original merger of Group Nine did 11 months ago,” Group Nine Media CEO Ben Lerer, who previously headed Thrillist, said in a statement. “Also, importantly, Jash leadership shares our vision and values and I couldn’t be happier to welcome them to the Group Nine family.”

Added Jash CEO Kellison, “Our journey from YouTube comedy channel to full-fledged linear and digital content company and community is being realized with this partnership. We align with Group Nine in every sensibility — from core values to editorial perspective.”

Group Nine’s NowThis recently teamed up with Jash for a show on Facebook’s Watch, “Home Team: The Vegas Golden Knights,” in partnership with the NHL. Last December, NowThis partnered with Jash on a series featuring comedians interviewing politicians and other notable figures, including Sarah Silverman’s Q&A with Bernie Sanders via Facebook Live.

With Group Nine’s acquisition of Jash, the companies said additional projects are under way for Thrillist, Seeker and the Dodo. The deal will build on Group Nine’s existing digital audience, which generates over 5 billion monthly video views and more than 120 million social engagements per month.