Shane Smith’s burgeoning digital media empire just got a little bigger with the news that Vice Media has acquired a majority stake in UK production company Pulse Films. The deal gives Vice a foothold in the lucrative UK market through a well-respected producer behind the likes of Shut Up and Play the Hits, about the final show of LCD Soundsystem, The Cruise Ship and Channel 4 doc When Bjork Met Attenborough. For Pulse, which had already been expanding its U.S. operations, gets access to Vice’s increasing muscle as a global platform and generator of content.
The two companies had already worked together on Shut up and Play the Hits back in 2013. “Pulse are one of the few companies in the world that consistently produces content we admire,” said Andrew Creighton, VIce Media’s co-president. “Thomas [Benksi] has built an incredible team and company based around making stories that have a point of view and style that actually move audiences. Vice’s acquisition of Pulse is a natural step in a relationship that has been enormously productive for both companies. We couldn’t be more excited to take our partnership to the next level.”
Less than a month after launching in the U.S., Shane Smith’s digital content behemoth Vice announced it would be launching TV channel Viceland in the UK and Ireland as well on pay TV platform Sky. The channel will start airing on Sky and its OTT service Now TV in September. The 24-hour channel will be entirely programmed and produced entirely in-house by Vice, which already has a strong London editorial presence and office (and a pub). Sky will handle ad sales for the channel.
The U.S. Viceland, the result of a deal between Vice and A+E Networks, is distributed in approximately 70 million homes, and features hundreds of hours of new lifestyle and documentary-style programming developed and produced entirely in-house by the youth-centric media brand and digital content studio. Oscar-winning writer/director Spike Jonze, a long-time Vice partner and creative director for the company, will be overseeing the development of the new channel, from show creation, to production, to brand identity.