Vice Media’s ascent continues with a major traditional media milestone — its own linear cable channel. I’ve learned that A+E Networks will be rebranding H2 into Vice. The move follows the $250 million deal last August, spearheaded by A+E Networks topper Nancy Dubuc, in which the company acquired a 10% stake in Vice Media. No one is commenting, but Vice co-founder Shane Smith had spoken of his desire to have a Vice-branded cable channel, eying Time Warner as a partner before that deal fell through, opening the door for A+E, and Dubuc has been looking for new ways to boost A+E’s portfolio of networks.
Vice’s target young male demo had been seen as a perfect match to complement A+E-owned History. Launched in 1996 as a companion channel to History, H2 mainly has been repurposing History programming, along with new episodes of the former History series and original specials. It is available in more than 71 million homes. This would be the second A+E Networks channel to be relaunched since Dubuc took over the company, following the rebranding of Bio as FYI.
Vice Media also has a deal with HBO, which was recently expanded and extended through 2018. It focuses on news content and includes a daily Vice newscast as well as new seasons of the the Emmy-winning weekly documentary show and specials.