Shane Smith’s burgeoning media empire Vice Media has launched into more than 50 new countries. The digital news and entertainment platform and content generator has struck a host of distribution deals including the Middle East, Africa, India and south-east Asia. Smith made the announcement during a presentation today at adverting confab Cannes Lions.
“Earlier this year it was widely reported that I announced that we would launch Viceland in 12 countries in 12 months and that is not true,” said Vice co-founder and chief executive Shane Smith at the Cannes Lions advertising festival on Wednesday. “We will in fact be launching in 44 countries (for those keeping score that’s less than four months in) making Viceland the fastest growing television network in history.”
In the Middle East, Vice has inked a deal with Saad Mohseni’s Dubai-based Moby media group, in which Rupert Murdoch is also a shareholder. Vice’s south-east Asia partner will be Singapore-based Multi Channels Asia. A 24 hour Viceland channel will launch in 18 countries in the region. Vice is partnering with the Times of India group for its Indian operation, to launch mobile, digital and a Viceland channel on pay-TV. Vice has a deal for sub-Saharan Africa with Econet Media, to launch a Viceland channel by the end of next year in countries like Nigeria and Kenya. In Australia, Vice will expand its operations though a deal with broadcaster SBS to bring a free-to-air Viceland later this year. In New Zealand, Viceland will be launched as part of Sky’s basic subscription package. Vice will also launch a Viceland tailored for Canada’s French-speaking population through a deal there with Groupe V Media.
The moves follow Vice’s official launching of TV channel Viceland in the U.S. earlier this year, followed by the announcement it would also be coming to the UK and Ireland 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.