Copied from Playback - Copied from Realscreen - Spencer Baim (left) and Robert Friedman at the BCON Expo in New York, October 2013.  Photo: Dwayne Hill

BCON13: Vice eyes expansion to India, Russia

Vice Media is looking to open offices in India and Russia following its US$70 million deal with 21st Century Fox, chief strategic officer Spencer Baim (pictured, left) told delegates at the BCON Expo in New York Wednesday.
July 30, 2013

Vice Media is looking to open offices in India and Russia following its US$70 million deal with 21st Century Fox, chief strategic officer Spencer Baim (pictured, left) told delegates at the BCON Expo in New York Wednesday morning.

Discussing August’s deal, which saw Fox acquiring a 5% stake in Vice – and subsequently valuing the Brooklyn-based multimedia company at US$1.4 billion – Baim told Bungalow Media + Entertainment CEO Robert Friedman (pictured, right) that “the main priority now is global expansion.”

Vice recently opened its first office in China and is now targeting India and Russia for its next outposts, he added.

When asked why Fox has decided to acquire the stake in his firm, Baim said: “There isn’t another media company around the world that is as attractive to the young media demographic that brands care about the most.

“So I would say our incredible ability to speak to this generation – we have this immense scale now.”

Elsewhere during the opening conversation at BCON Expo, which is presented by realscreen and sister brand Stream, Baim discussed Vice’s partnership with U.S. pay-TV network HBO, for the series Vice.

When asked why the firm partnered with the network, Baim said: “Because they are the gold standard in TV and we knew that they would let us do what we wanted to do, the way we wanted to do it.”

He also added that the deal was a “great advertisement” for the Vice branded, as proven by the show’s subsequent Emmy nomination.

Vice is now starting to think about scripted entertainment, and in particular comedy, as it branches out. “We’re looking for other ways to build the Vice brand,” Baim offered.

That said, while talking up Vice’s growth, he was also mindful of some of the brand’s less successful ventures. “We used to have clothing stores when I first joined,” he said, “that was a total failure.”

One area that Vice sees a lot of potential in is food. The company currently has a show called Munchies, and Baim said: “We’re going to launch a food channel, based on the fact that we see young people experiencing food in a new way.”

He also reflected on the changing nature of the brand as the staff working on it get older. “The Vice brand has evolved as we’ve got older,” Baim said. “We are taking certain things more seriously. The HBO show, for example, was viewed by an older audience, as well as a younger audience.

“We were a generation X company, and we are now a generation Y company.”

The BCON Expo continues Wednesday (Oct. 30) with speakers from firms including Google, Intel, Universal Music Enterprises, Discovery Networks International, Awesomeness TV, Live Nation Network, Trium Entertainment and Turner Digital.

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