NewFronts 2015: Vice Deal with HBO Is Biggest in Cabler’s History for Content, Shane Smith Says

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Vice Media CEO Shane Smith boasted that his company’s multiyear deal with Time Warner’s HBO — which covers a weekday new show for the next four years — is the biggest ever in the premium cabler’s history in terms of content.

The Vice topper spoke at its 2015 Digital Content NewFronts presentation Friday. Smith, wearing jeans and a black T-shirt, opened the presentation with a rhetorical question: “Why the f— are we here?” His answer: “We went to the gold standard,” meaning HBO.

Smith underscored Vice’s broad potential while reinforcing its counter-cultural brand. About the HBO deal extension, announced last month, Smith said that Vice has the freedom to do whatever it wants to do, without any advertising restrictions. “That changed our lives,” he said. “It was fantastically transformative.”

Not mentioned at the Vice presentation is that A+E Network’s H2 network will soon be converting into a linear channel for Vice. A+E is a joint venture of Disney and Hearst; A+E holds a 10% stake in Vice after investing $250 million in the company.

At the event, Vice said it has 20 new shows it expects to debut in the following months, but it didn’t provide details on when those would arrive. Slate includes renewals of “F—, That’s Delicious,” a food series from FremantleMedia, and “Vice World of Sports.”

The Vice event was held at the Center 548 space in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.