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

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

  • Stranger Things

    Coca-Cola Will Revive New Coke in Alliance With Netflix, 'Stranger Things'

    A rush of TV watchers to streaming video has prompted Coca-Cola to test an interesting pour. Coca-Cola will bring New Coke back to market for a brief time, all part of a partnership with Netflix, which has featured Coke in its cult-favorite series “Stranger Things.” The third season of the series, set in 1985, will [...]

  • Doug Davis and Jodie ShihadehVariety Power

    Jodie Shihadeh Named Partner at The Davis Firm

    Jodie Shihadeh has been named Partner at The Davis Firm, PLLC. She joined the firm in 2011 and rose from associate to Managing Attorney and now partner. She graduated from Boston College and received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 2011. While still in law school she interned in the Business [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Nickelodeon Alum Keith Dawkins Sets Kidvid Partnership With Believe Entertainment Group

    Former Nickelodeon executive Keith Dawkins has partnered with Believe Entertainment Group to develop children’s programming. Dawkins will partner with Believe under his newly formed Rock Hill Media Ventures, which aims to advise companies in media, entertainment and sports on working with diverse and emerging talent. Dawkins previously spent 17 years at Viacom, most of which [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Pleads Guilty to $40 Million Fraud

    The manager of a credit union for CBS employees pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court on Monday to a $40 million embezzlement scheme. Edward Rostohar, 62, was arrested in March after the scheme began to unravel. According to prosecutors, he admitted to stealing money from the bank for the last 20 years. Rostohar is [...]

  • Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The

    CAA's Packaging Fee Becomes Flashpoint in 'Walking Dead' Litigation

    UPDATED with new statement and response filing The issue that is at the heart of the WGA’s present standoff with talent agencies has flared up as a source of tension in the litigation between AMC Networks and Frank Darabont and CAA over profit participation on “The Walking Dead.” Attorneys for Darabont and CAA called AMC’s [...]

  • Sony Music to Deliver ‘Real Time’

    Sony Music to Deliver ‘Real Time’ Data, Royalty Payments to Artists

    Sony Music today announced two new payment features for its artists — “Real Time Royalties” and “Cash Out” — through its artist portal beginning this fall. 

A memo sent to artists Monday morning and obtained by Variety says  the initiatives will “allow our artists and royalty participants to view and withdraw earnings faster than ever [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content