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Group Nine

Group Nine Media has raised $40 million in its latest round of funding. The company, which houses several digital-first lifestyle media brands, like The Dodo, NowThis, Thrillist and Seeker, is also receiving investments from Axel Springer SE and Lerer Hippeau. In a statement, the company says that the additional funds will be used for expanding video content across its brands as well as for selected acquisitions.

Why it matters: It's a vote of confidence from Discovery, one of the largest lifestyle entertainment brands in television, in a company that's strategy is focused on scaling digital video, an area that's become increasingly saturated over the past several years.

Many digital-first media companies are facing tough economic challenges due to Google and Facebook's scale. Many of these companies rely on digital platforms to distribute their content, and are finding that video has become a lucrative way to engage younger audiences that are migrating from long text.

Note: Lerer Hippeau Ventures is an investor in Axios.

Go deeper

The risks and rewards of charging state-backed hackers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Last week’s stunning indictment of three North Korean hackers laid bare both the advantages and drawbacks of the U.S. government’s evolving strategy of using high-profile prosecutions to publicize hostile nation-state cyber activities.

Why it matters: Criminal charges can help the U.S. establish clear norms in a murky and rapidly changing environment, but they may not deter future bad behavior and could even invite retaliation against U.S. intelligence officials.

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ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/ANP/AFP via Getty

Netanyahu asked Biden in their first phone call last week to keep sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in place, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli officials are concerned that removing the sanctions would hamper Israel's efforts to stop a potential war crimes investigation into Israel, and that the court's prosecutor could see it as a signal that the U.S. isn't firmly opposed to that investigation.

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FDA analysis finds Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is safe and effective

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration's staff released a briefing document on Wednesday endorsing Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine as safe and effective.

The latest: Assuming the FDA issues an emergency use authorization "without delay," meaning as soon as this weekend, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said J&J will have 3 million to 4 million ready for distribution next week.