Vice touts global expansion in news saying it can do ‘whatever the fuck we want to do’

L:R Vice creative director Spike Jonze CEO Shane Smith at the Vice Newfront event. Source: Emily Winiker

L:R Vice creative director Spike Jonze CEO Shane Smith at the Vice Newfront event. Source: Emily Winiker

Vice has claimed last year’s $500m cash injection has given the youth orientated media brand a licence to reinvent the contemporary news model without worrying about advertising.

Addressing US media buyers on Friday Vice co-founder Shane Smith talked about the deal with Technology Crossover Ventures and TV brand A+E Networks, saying how the linear TV channel on A+E which is likely to come as part of the deal plus capital, would allow Vice to do “whatever the fuck we want to do”.

“We took what we were doing online and we went to gold standard of TV – which is HBO,” said Smith. “They then came to us and said instead of doing this every week do you want to do this everyday plus 12 specials a year.

“So we were actually the largest buy in the history of HBO – which is freaky,” he said. “I know what it means for us is that we can do news for the next three to four years and do whatever the fuck we want to do, whatever the fuck we want to say, whatever story we want to do – no advertising, no nothing. 

“This has never been done before.”

photoVice told the room how its online channels have grown 200 per cent in the last year and also teased that it would have a “new channel this fall”while not elaborating on whether the channel would be online or on TV.

“The interest in the stories that we’re doing show an interest in humanity,” said Smith, who is CEO of the company. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the news cycle.”

Vice touted a slate of 20 shows for the new venture, with show titles such as Fuck That’s Delicious, With Action Bronson, Vice World of Sports, Gaycation with Ellie Page, Vice Portraits With Marc Maron, Fashion Week International, Huang’s World (hosted by chef Eddie Huang), Noisy, Motherboard and Weediquette.

Despite the bravado about not needing advertising, Vice hosted one of the more extravagant parties of the 2015 digital Newfronts, encouraging media buyers to mix with its reporters and staff in a function held on Friday night.

At this point it not clear what impact the deal will have on the Australian operations of Vice which announced a major expansion in October 2014, although it is likely they will be contributing content to the expanded Vice News TV operation.

Nic Christensen in New York 


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