Vice, FremantleMedia get Munchies in Cannes

Food-focused joint venture Munchies is soft-launching with five titles, some of which will be repackaged as half-hour TV shows or hour-long docs, execs reveal at MIPTV in Cannes.
April 7, 2014

Vice Media and FremantleMedia have lifted the lid on their food-focused joint venture, unveiling its first five titles at MIPTV in Cannes and soft launching an online offering. 

As reported in February, the two parties penned a deal to team up and develop a millennial-focused multi-channel food platform, featuring a slate of original video content, editorial features, articles, how-to guides, recipes and events. The partners have decided to adopt the name Munchies — which was previously the title of one of Vice’s web series — for the venture.

“There isn’t a lot for Generation Y, which is the generation that goes out and spends the most on food.”

The partners have rolled out the vertical in beta as of Monday, with an initial slate of five titles, clips for which were shown at a press briefing in Cannes. Launch titles include Being Frank, Munchies: Chef’s Night Out, Fresh Off The Boat, Girl Eats Food (pictured) and F*ck That’s Delicious.

“People ask us all the time why don’t we do more with food,” Vice CEO and co-founder Shane Smith told reporters in Cannes. “There isn’t a lot for Generation Y, which is the generation that goes out and spends the most on food.”

Vice chief creative officer Eddie Moretti added that Munchies would be “available at all time on all platforms,” and Keith Hindle, CEO of FremantleMedia’s digital and branded entertainment division, said that his company would collate Munchies short-form content into half-hour packages, to be sold to TV channels around the world. The titles will target an 18-34 demo.

“We’ve wanted to work with Vice, and we’ve been talking to them, for a long time,” Hindle said, adding that Vice’s “quality of watch time” – the amount of dwell time each online visitor was spending watching Vice programming – was impressive. “Also, these guys make long-running IP, which is also the core of our business,” he said. “We can learn a lot from each other.”

In addition to the five launch titles, other forthcoming titles will include a doc series called The Politics of Food. Both parties highlighted that, in addition to short form content, the initiative will also produce longer factual offerings. Moretti also said he would not rule out a possible expansion beyond TV into doing a theatrical food doc, and cited Jiro Dreams of Sushi as the kind of feature documentary that would appeal to the Vice brand.

“Some of these [titles] are going to be short, some are going to be packaged as 30-minute shows, and there will be some hour-long docs on some of the chefs,” Moretti explained.

Hindle added that where the partners penned a deal with a broadcaster in a certain region, localized original web content would be used as an appetizer to drive viewers to the original TV show. He also said that Fremantle had already received an offer from a U.S. cable network for one of the shows, but would not disclose which network.

Ultimately, Munchies will be “not just about food,” Hindle said, “it’s a lifestyle channel – it’s about the lifestyle around food.”

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  • JohnWhiting said:

    It sounds as if the Politics of Food series could start by examining the food-industry-driven emphasis of the Munchies channel itself, starting with its choice of title.

  • Curtis savage said:

    Vice really understands online and millennials. Most of all they understand taking a risk and leading the pack. Kudos.

  • Vice to launch sports channel ahead of World Cup » Media in Canada said:

    […] Off The Boat, a show on the recently launched Munchies channel follows chef and author Eddie Huang as he travels the world looking at food “as a way of […]

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