Vice Media is making its move into mainstream TV with the launch of a Vice TV network in Canada after striking a deal with Canadian cable provider Rogers.
The $100m joint venture comes on the back of speculation that Vice would soon announce a move into TV broadcasting following the success of its online video content. The partnership will see the creation of Vice Canada Studio and will produce content for distribution on the “holy trinity” of TV, web and mobile.
The company’s first TV network marks a return to its roots for Vice, and co-founder and CEO Shane Smith said: “It was 20 years ago, deep down in the port of Old Montreal that we set out to try and make a magazine that didn’t suck.
“This year we return to the homeland, all our hard lessons learned, to build from scratch a completely horizontally and vertically integrated ultra-modern media entity. Essentially we are building a content creation hub that will generate premium video for a cutting edge media company that will programme – simultaneously – the holy trinity of convergence: mobile, online and TV.”
He went on: “Our partner on this ambitious project will be Rogers. We’ll build something truly special, deeply innovative and dedicated to the youth of this country. Rogers and Vice will programme the content created out of our studio on its mobile platforms, its online outlets and its television properties.
“This revolutionary idea puts us not only at the forefront of tech/media space in Canada but we believe our bold experiment will be followed by media and tech companies around the world. Why? Because this is the future of media. We are excited as hell to be doing this with them and exited as hell to build our most ambitious project to date in Canada.”
The project will take effect from next year, and programming will include drama, documentaries covering subjects including food, sport, fashion and tech. In addition, the partnership will seek to nurture and develop future talent in Canada.
The move towards producing exclusive mobile content follows comments from Smith earlier this month that nobody had yet been able to crack the potential of mobile.
In an interview with The Drum, Smith added that the rise of Vice and other new media outlets such as Buzzfeed heralded a new era in media providing a direct challenge to traditional TV broadcasters.
Earlier this year, Vice received another significant financial boost in a $500m investment from Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) and A+E Networks to develop new products. The money injection followed the rocketing success of Vice News, which, through coverage of issues such as the rise of Isis and the crisis in Ukraine, brought Vice content international recognition.