Vice closes in on convergence between media and telcos with eight major mobile video deals

Vice founder Shane Smith announces eight major mobile deals

Vice Media has struck eight partnerships with mobile providers worldwide including Vodafone, Verizon and AbemaTV that will quicken the brand’s bid to reach as many millennial viewers with its content.

The media owner claimed the deals across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, the United States and Canada, will help it woo between 200 million to 300 million new users. The breadth of Vice's ties with some of the world’s largest telecommunications businesses was revealed at Mobile World Congress today (1 March) by Vice co-founder and chief executive Shane Smith.

"For us right now we’re in a speed race a sprint, to learn how can we get the [mobile] learnings before everyone else," he said at the event.

"It’s probably the most exciting time to be a content creator and it’s also the most exciting time to be a mobile carrier. The guys that used to lay cables are now going to be creating the most exciting content in the world."

Partnerships will span original production, licensing, direct to consumer (DTC) offerings, Viceland programming and more depending on the partner. For example, Vice's deals with Asia Pacific territories such as Japan, Indonesia and Australia mean its original programming will be delivered to over 80 territories by the end of 2017.

Furthermore, the publisher has penned a deal with DOCOMO Digital, a subset of DOCOMO Inc, Japan’s largest mobile network operator to launch subscription video-on-demand service Vice+. Content from both Vice and its partners will flow through the app, which will initially run in Japan but has the potential to extend to other markets where DOCOMO Digital operates, including Europe.

Hiroyuki Sato, chief executive of DOCOMO Digital, said: "Mobile consumption is continuing to grow among millennials. We're delighted to be working with Vice on this exciting project, bringing their unique programming to millions of users through our expertise in mobile and marketing. With the launch of Vice+ in Japan, we are excited to be bringing Vice’s distinct voice to other countries as well. Together we're working to advance our aim of bringing to fruition the next generation of connected mobile platforms."

Brands including telecoms provider XL Axiata, Malaysian subscription video-on-demand service iflix, and Vodafone will pay the media company to create original content for the Indonesian and Australian markets.

Content licensing will also play a key role across the partnerships, with Vice extending deals with with AbemaTV and Verizon to push more video in Japan and North America. Vice already has existing channels on both AbemaTV and Verizon’s streaming app Go90.

Asia is a key part of Vice’s moves to maintain momentum behind audience growth, particularly in those countries where mobile is the primary screen for young audiences.

According to the latest Cisco report, mobile video accounted for 60% of total mobile data traffic in 2016. The survey predicts that over three quarters (78%) of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2021.

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