Vice’s television channel Viceland to come to Australia soon

Vice’s TV channel Viceland is set to arrive in Australia soon, with an announcement on its local launch due in “coming weeks”, Vice’s Erik Lavoie has revealed.

Speaking at Mumbrella360, Lavoie said: “We’re expanding our ability to distribute our content, TV has become a thing for us. You will be seeing some news around Vice and the launch of Viceland in Australia in coming weeks.

“All of this is because we need scale and engagement – that’s our business model. Our business model isn’t about driving banner ad sales, it’s about audience. It’s about audience growth, generating the largest possible audience that we can, to get our content out to as many people possible.”


Lavoie: Audiences are not watching traditional broadcast programming because it’s not very good

Lavoie was tight-lipped on how the TV channel would work locally – it has already launched in both the US and Canada – however he did reveal that local audiences could expect some localised Viceland TV content.

“We believe creating a body of work at a global scale from markets all around the world that everyone is sharing not only creates a lot of efficiencies but also gives consumers something that is a little bit different to what their local content providers do,” he said

“We’re taking that attitude and mentality to TV as well so when the channel launches in Australia it will have content coming from Canada, the US, the UK, France – all the places where the channel exists – and then supplement with some additional programs that are Australian in nature. We believe that is something that doesn’t exist today.”

Lavoie explained Vice’s decision to get into TV as a response to the poor content currently being produced in traditional broadcasting.

“The reason why we are launching a television channel is we have a slight hypothesis around television and one of it is which the reason why channels are declining isn’t because TVs no longer exist, it isn’t because our consumers don’t own TVs, they’re just not watching traditional broadcast programming because it’s just not very good.

“People aren’t creating the type of content that the Netflix, the HBOs and the Amazons of the world are creating,” he said.

Lavoie said Vice wants to engage with its audience in “every possible place” but it needs to create “the right kind of content” to suit each channel.

“When we think about TV not only are we thinking about making sure we’re creating the best possible content, we’re also thinking about creating best possible experience,” he said.

“We’re reducing ad load, we’re encouraging our brand partners to think beyond the 30-second spot, to think about what takes the work we’re doing in digital with them and extend it into TV.”


According to Lavoie, audiences aren’t “bouncing between one platform to another” meaning each channel has to be a complete experience for the user.

“You have to create content and that can be a dead-end within each one of those spots, and that experience has to be full,” he said.

“You have to give them everything you possibly can, so that means if you have a 12-minute documentary that’s beautiful and amazing and you need to distill it down to 60 seconds so it will perform on Instagram, you have to come up with a way to do that and what you can’t do is just give them the first 60 seconds.

“You have to give them the content because people aren’t taking those extra steps to leave a platform.”

Despite Vice’s reputation for video content, and its foray into television, Lavoie admitted Vice was “super late to the Youtube game”.


Vice was “super late” to the Youtube game, says Lavoie

“We did not embrace Youtube upfront because our fear was by giving our content to Youtube we were going to create a long-term problem for the media company as a whole because people weren’t going to be coming to us to consume the content, they would be going to Youtube,” he said.

“It took us a long time to come around to it. We’ve only been in bed with Youtube for four to five years, and it’s been the greatest thing ever. We built a gigantic audience within Youtube, we see tremendous amount of engagement and we figured out how to utilise them in a way that supports the overall business.”

Lavoie emphasised the importance of leveraging off-platform distribution opportunities to boost audience and reach, however, admitted it hasn’t been something Vice has “fully embraced”.

“Leveraging those existing platforms and making them a part of your quiver is incredibly important. Speaking from experience, it’s not something we fully embraced,” he said.

“When we say it’s an uphill battle to drive people to a new destination, that is without exaggeration; it is not an easy thing at all. But if you can leverage those types of platforms that have a gigantic audience and if you can use that to make sure people discover what you do, that’s great.

“And if the only thing that people do is see your content on Youtube, there is a gigantic percentage of our global audience who know us as a Youtube channel and not a dot com destination, and that’s fine, as long as people are consuming the content, we’re happy. That’s what’s important to us.”


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