You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vice Swings to Profit in the U.K., Eyes International Partnerships

After a tumultuous period involving harassment scandals, job losses and restructuring, Vice has registered a small profit in the U.K., according to the company’s latest results. The uptick is welcome news for Vice as its new international boss, Dominique Delport, scopes out new production and partnership possibilities for the company’s content business.

The U.K. was the first territory of Vice’s expansion outside the U.S. and remains the company’s single largest international market as well as a hub for the EMEA region. Vice’s U.K. arm reported revenue of £103 million ($130 million) for 2017, compared to £92 million a year earlier, and reversed a £7.6 million loss in 2016 to eke out a £200,000 profit. The digital and creative agency work was Vice’s single biggest earner, generating revenue of £25.7 million and an EBIDTA profit of £2.5 million.

Delport joined Vice earlier this year from Vivendi as president of international and chief revenue officer. He acknowledged that the business had gone through a challenging period but said the U.K. numbers offered a positive sign for how the business can develop.

“They give a great explanation of how Vice is evolving, how Vice has diversified, and how Vice is on the way to profitability,” he told Variety. “That narrative may not fit into what we have heard around Vice as we have had quite a tough time.”

He said he wants to get rid of siloed activity at Vice as it sets out to become a global content studio.

“There is quite a radical shift in the way the business now is executed and operated at scale,” Delport said, “and you can see that with an entity like Vice in the U.K., which reached the £100 million [revenues] level and is very balanced in three of our main businesses: the traditional digital business, the TV business that is growing, and studio/production business.”

A damaging New York Times story about an abusive culture at Vice reverberated internationally, with new execs installed and new workplace guidelines put in place. The company has undergone wholesale management changes, with Nancy Dubuc joining as CEO and Delport at the helm of international. As in the U.S., the U.K. team has seen layoffs and new senior hires. Last month, Disney wrote down its stake in the firm.

Vice Studios launched in the U.K. in 2017 and brought in £2.9 million in revenue, turning a profit of £200,000. In line with Delport’s mission to build partnerships, Vice Studios has started winning commissions from third parties in the U.K., making “Britain’s Cocaine Epidemic” for Channel 5, the upcoming documentary about Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” and a game-show format for UKTV called “Beat the Internet.”

Delport said there would be more and deeper partnerships in the future, notably with the traditional TV players as they looks to build Generation Z audiences. This year, Vice struck a 900-hour content deal with Britain’s Channel 4 and also has deals with Hulu in the U.S., Bell Media in Canada and, more recently, Hooq in Asia. A Chinese deal is in the offing for early next year.

TV, film and advertising studio Pulse Films, which is owned by Vice, posted a £1.4 million loss on revenues of £41.8 million. But with projects including the £50 million Sky and Cinemax series “Gangs of London” coming through, the unit is thought to be close to profitability.

Vice runs a daily news show on HBO in the U.S., and news is another likely area of international expansion. “We want to develop news, we have discussion with partners,” Delport said. “We will keep chasing opportunity to extend the Vice news platform in Europe, in Asia, and the rest of the world because we feel it is a very strong pillar for us.”

More TV

  • Viacom HQ LA

    Viacom Stock Takes Hit Amid DirecTV Battle

    Viacom shares have taken a hit in trading Wednesday, a day after the company went public with its brewing battle over a new carriage agreement with AT&T’s DirecTV. Viacom shares were down more than 5% by midday, dropping to $26.05. On Tuesday afternoon, Viacom began warning viewers that its channels may go dark as of [...]

  • Ava DuVernay Sets Anthology Series 'Cherish

    Ava DuVernay Sets Romance Anthology Series 'Cherish the Day' at OWN (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has given out a straight-to-series order for an anthology that hails from Ava DuVernay, Variety has learned exclusively. The series is titled “Cherish the Day.” Each season, the anthology series chronicles the romance of one couple, with each episode spanning a single day. The season-long narrative will unfold to reveal [...]

  • Dora the Exlorer Paw Patrol Rugrats

    Nickelodeon at 40: Breaking Down the Big Hits From 'Dora' to 'SpongeBob'

    As Nickelodeon turns 40, Variety breaks down some of the network’s most important titles to date. “All That” “All That” launched careers in its 1994-2005 run, and is being resurrected with a new cast and many of the same producers this summer. “It just seemed like a quirky, different hang out for kids,” says original [...]

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Double Dare

    Nickelodeon at 40: King of Kids TV Is Still Expanding its Brand

    As Nickelodeon turns 40, the kids’ network is finding ways to rely on its past as it presses boldly into the future. “My goal is to fill up every screen of every size to make Nick kids’ first and last stop for everything they want in entertainment,” says Nickelodeon Group president Brian Robbins, who succeeded [...]

  • Epic Games Unveils $100 Million 'MegaGrants'

    Epic Games Unveils $100 Million 'MegaGrants' For Film, Game, Other Creators

    Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney kicked off the company’s annual Game Developers Conference keynote with some big news for creators: a commitment to hand out $100 million to game makers, film and TV creators, students, educators, tool developers, essentially anyone working to enhance 3D graphics and inspire creativity. The Epic MegaGrants is an [...]

  • Kenan Thompson SNL

    How Nickelodeon Inspired the Next Generation of Hollywood Stars

    With four decades of transformative kids’ programming from such series as “All That” to “Blue’s Clues” to “Rugrats” under its belt, Nickelodeon has been responsible for inspiring new generations of Hollywood creatives. For comic actor Kenan Thompson, it’s easy to see how Nickelodeon’s “All That” became a training ground for his work on NBC’s late-night, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content