You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Shane Smith Extends the Reach of Vice Media Across the Globe

The frequently traveling executive has signed deals in multiple countries to spread his brand among millennial consumers

Shane Smith’s passport is running out of pages to stamp.

The co-founder and CEO of Vice logged plenty of frequent flier miles this year, given the rapid international expansion of his company, which currently operates in more than 30 countries — a number that is expected to exceed 80 by 2018.

Smith admits the speed at which Vice is crisscrossing the planet has exceeded even his own expectations. “It’s the fastest anyone has ever rolled out TV globally, including MTV, so we’re pretty excited about that,” he says.

The prototype for Vice’s international strategy kicked in with Canada’s Rogers Communications, which signed the company to a $100 million partnership.

That strategy went into overdrive in June at the Cannes Lions festival, where Smith unveiled a more aggressive distribution model that included Australia, India, and the rest of Southeast Asia.

The key to Vice’s global push has been the introduction of Viceland, a cable network launched in U.S. and Canada in February with a full slate of long-form original series, including “Gaycation” and “F*ck That’s Delicious” with the brand’s millennial-friendly irreverence.

The channel launched Stateside in partnership with A+E Networks, which has a stake in Vice along with Disney, 21st Century Fox and others.

“Our plan, when we first started the network, was if we could have a break-even network here in America, would have all of that content for international deals, be it mobile, online or otherwise,” Smith says. “That’s a whole new business model.”

Viceland airs in 25 countries in varying arrangements from licensing deals to branded blocks. But Vice isn’t just focused on TV; the company also has websites and mobile deployments that keep the brand on three different screens that each fetch their own license fees.

“If we can just launch all these territories and marry them to mobile deals, then there’s the next three years of growth for Vice, and it’s exponential growth,” Smith says. “That’s basically the story of what our future is.”

Vice doesn’t just make copies of Viceland for each territory in which the network launches. There’s a mix of content repurposed from the U.S. channel with localized programming more reflective of the market in which it launches, and produced by teams Vice puts on the ground in those markets.

Having a global network of Vice brand extensions also gives the company the ability to offer true scale to marketers seeking international reach.

Vice also translates to non-English-language markets such as French, whether in France via Canal Plus or Quebec via Groupe V Media.

To drive Vice’s international strategy, Smith turns to Viceland Intl. president James Rosenstock. He joined the company in 2015 after a stint at another company with a robust international TV profile, Discovery Communications.

Vice has 30 foreign offices abroad with production, editorial, and sales capabilities. Part of what is driving Vice’s growth is that markets such as Indonesia and Serbia have proportionally massive millennial populations and scant content for just that demographic. “All of these deals aren’t happening because Vice is cool but because they like the content and it resonates,” Smith says.

Smith has also set Vice’s sights on the Middle East via the Moby Group, which he hopes could also be a place that generates interesting content. But that also presents some challenges considering the very meaning of the word Vice there.

“I was talking to some of the people there in the Middle East, who were saying, ‘Surely the name can’t be Vice?’” Smith says. “Obviously the translation is highly politically and theologically charged [there]. To us, it means daily naughty addiction to content.”

More Biz

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

  • Jonathan Lamy RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy Stepping Down From RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy, the Recording Industry Association of America’s longtime executive VP of communications and marketing, is stepping down from his post after 17 years, he announced today. As he put it in an email to Variety, “I started back in 2002, which means it’s been 17+ years, four different RIAA CEOs, three format changes and [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Disney-21st Fox Layoffs: TV Divisions Brace for Deep Cuts

    A second day of layoffs has begun on the Fox lot in the wake of Disney completing its acquisition of 21st Century Fox on Wednesday. Longtime 20th Century Fox Television Distribution president Mark Kaner is among the senior executives who were formally notified with severance details on Friday morning. 21st Century Fox’s international TV sales [...]

  • anthony pellicano

    Hollywood Fixer Anthony Pellicano Released From Federal Prison

    Anthony Pellicano, the Hollywood private eye whose wiretapping case riveted the industry a decade ago, was released from a federal prison on Friday, a prison spokeswoman confirmed. Pellicano was sentenced in 2008 to 15 years, following his conviction on 78 charges of wiretapping, racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud. He had been in custody since 2003, [...]

  • This image taken from the Twitter

    HBO’s Reaction to Trump’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Campaign

    Everyone wants a piece of the “Game of Thrones” lemon cake. From Bud Light to Red Bull the world of Westeros is open to a lot of brand partnerships, unless you’re using that iconic typeface to push a political agenda. In November of 2018 President Donald Trump unveiled a “Thrones” inspired poster with the words [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    'Leaving Neverland' Lawsuit Proves to Be a Judicial Hot Potato

    The Michael Jackson estate sued HBO last month for airing the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which accuses the late King of Pop of serial child sexual abuse. Since then, the case has had a difficult time finding a judge to handle it. Three federal judges have recused themselves in the last week, citing potential financial conflicts [...]

  • Members of the public mourn at

    Guy Oseary’s New Zealand Fundraiser Nears $150,000, Continues Raising Money

    In the wake of the horrific shootings at New Zealand mosques last week that killed some 49 people, Maverick chief Guy Oseary launched a GoFundMe campaign to “support those affected by this tragedy at this very difficult time,” and began it with an $18,000 donation. Boosted by donations from many celebrities — including Amy Schumer, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content