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Vice Launches Full-Scale Operation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Production hub to open in Johannesburg

Vice Media and African telecom and pay-TV operator Econet have announced a new joint venture to fully launch Vice into Sub-Saharan Africa, following the launch in January of Viceland on Econet’s pan-African Kwesé multi-platform network.

The joint venture, which is called Kwesé Vice, entails opening a new bureau and production studio headquartered in Johannesburg for development, production and distribution of local editorial content and original video programming both for Kwesé Vice’s channels and third party platforms.

Kwesé Vice expands the deal that Vice and Econet struck in January under which Viceland rolled out on Kwesé TV in Sub-Saharan Africa. Viceland will now be extending that launch into South Africa on Kwesé as part of its ongoing rollout across 45 African countries.

Econet operates on the “TV Everywhere” model in which subscribers access content through multiple devices. Kwesé, which targets Africa’s emerging millennial market segment, is being touted as a good fit for Vice’s distinctive capability to produce youth content.

Kwesé Vice, which will launch in 2018, will be dedicated to producing original editorial and video content produced out of its Johannesburg headquarters, with satellite offices in Nairobi and Lagos.

They will “hire the best young creatives, journalists and filmmakers locally, and air tailored lifestyle and culture programming across linear and digital platforms around-the-clock for the young audience in Africa,” a statement said.

“Continuing to build on what’s been a flourishing partnership with Econet over the past year, we’re excited to be fully launching Vice across the region,” said Matt Elek, Chief Executive Officer, Vice Media, EMEA in the statement.

“Pairing Econet’s extensive local knowledge and innovative distribution with Vice’s creative powerhouse and storytelling expertise, we’re committed to delivering a fresh new voice for Africa’s diverse youth audiences,” he added.

Joseph Hundah, President & Group CEO of Econet Media, noted that, while they have signed several pan-African partnerships, “this venture is particularly exciting as it adds to our offering for the youth demographic across the continent.”

In addition to editorial and content divisions Kwesé Vice will also be housing a local unit of Vice’s ad agency, Virtue Worldwide, which will develop branded content specifically for the local African market, drawing on Kwesé know-how.

The partnership with Econet comes as Vice continues to expand its global footprint via multi-platform partnerships with several major players around the world including Brazil’s Globosat, Moby Group in the Middle East, and Times of India in India. With the addition of Kwesé’s pan-African footprint, Vice’s content will now be going out to over 80 territories by Q1 2018.

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