HBO’s new daily news program “Vice News Tonight” has been watched by “hundreds of thousands” of viewers within the first two weeks, said HBO CEO Richard Plepler at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference in Laguna Beach, California Tuesday morning. “It’s doing very, very well on digital,” he added.
However, Plepler also argued that he wasn’t too worried about the show’s current audience size. “I’m not running a business based on CPMs. I’m running a business based on brands.”
Plepler was joined on stage by Vice CEO Shane Smith, who said that the cooperation with HBO had been “amazing” for his company. Vice launched “Vice News Tonight,” on HBO in October. The collaboration had been a long time in the making, with both first announcing plans for the show in March of 2015, and was initially supposed to launch a year ago.
Asked about getting possible competition from Donald Trump’s rumored news network after the election, Plepler seemed dismissive. “I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that,” he said.
Smith seemed more concerned, arguing that news programs around the world are in danger of losing their independent status, with oligarchs and others influencing coverage. “There needs to be more Vice, there needs to be more CNN, there needs to be more BBC,” Smith said. “We need more news platforms.”