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Vice Media Is Eliminating Its Multiple Web Channels, Consolidating Them Into Single Site

Vice Media for years has operated independent vertical brands online for different topic areas, which it calls “channels” — like Vice News, Munchies (food), Noisey (music), and Motherboard (tech).

As of this week, Vice is folding all of its content into Vice.com with the separate channels either becoming feature sections, getting repurposed into new formats, or being retired. The consolidation will “unify and strengthen its offering to audiences and advertisers alike,” the company said in a statement. Vice is presenting the new strategy at its Digital Content NewFronts event Wednesday in New York.

Content from all Vice channels will migrate into new feature sections beginning May 2. Munchies, Noisey, Motherboard and Vice News will become branded sections. Other channels — including women-focused Broadly, Free (money), Amuse (travel), Tonic (wellness), Waypoint (games) and Vice Sports — will find “new expressions,” according to the company, such as through social-media accounts, newsletters and podcasts.

The new Vice.com feature sections are: News, Identity, Entertainment, Music, Food, Tech, Games, Health, and Drugs. In addition, the redesigned website will feature Vice Stories, a home for vertical video.

Three years ago, Vice’s then-CEO and co-founder Shane Smith had touted the launch of new channels as a big growth initiative. The move to streamline the Vice digital brands comes under new CEO Nancy Dubuc, who was hired a little over a year ago, and follows the company’s 10% cutback in staff announced earlier this year.

At the event, held at dim-sum restaurant Jing Fong in NYC’s Chinatown, Dubuc said she joined Vice not to provide “adult supervision” — the company has been accused of fostering a culture hostile to women, with several execs ousted over sexual harassment allegations. Rather, she said, her decision was driven by three simple reasons: Shane Smith; to have passion for the work: and to have fun. “Change and evolution are in our DNA, thanks to Papa Shane,” she said, gesturing to Smith, who was seated in the audience and didn’t address the gathering.

Meanwhile, Vice says it’s pushing back against the ad industry’s use of keyword blacklists. Vice says it uses Oracle technologies to automatically scan for ad-inappropriate content. But the company cited internal research finding that such keyword blacklists — designed as a “brand safety” measure to cut the risk that a marketer’s message will be shown with objectionable content — “restrict content that promotes diversity and inclusion.”

To that end, Vice said it will no longer block the following 25 words and phrases traditionally requested on keyword blacklists: Bisexual, Gay, LGBTQ, Transgender, HIV, Lesbian, Gender, Queer, Feminist, Pregnant, Interracial, Middle Eastern, Arab, Asian, Latina/o, Jewish, Muslim, Islamic, Christian, Hijab, Global Warming, Climate Change, Refugee, Immigrant, and Overweight/Fat.

Another change: Partner sites that previously rolled up into Vice’s comScore traffic assignment will no longer be included in the company’s traffic-aggregation figures as of May 15. That’s because the growth on Vice’s owned-and-operated sites “has outpaced former partner sites,” the company said.

Currently, Vice’s digital properties reach over 300 million people globally each month across multiple platforms. That breaks down to 124 million in North America (including 110 million in the U.S.); 104 million in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); 34 million in Latin America, and 38 million in Asia-Pacific.

Among Vice’s new programming initiatives, the company is bringing back “The Vice Guide to Everything,” to mark the company’s 25th anniversary. Vice plans to publish a series of 25 separate guides about issues and topics ranging from gender politics and climate change, to fashion and relationships. The “Vice Guides” will encompass custom editorial content online, digital video series, interstitials on the Viceland cable network, Snapchat series and podcasts. The company also said it’s open to working with marketers to collaborate on creating co-branded “Vice Guides.”

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