NEW YORK – Vice Media has expanded on its already ambitious growth plans with co-founder and CEO Shane Smith promising to launch the millennial-themed linear channel, Viceland, in 20 markets by the end of the year.
“It’s the fastest growing network in the history of the fucking world,” Smith boasted at the Vice NewFronts presentation, held May 6 in Manhattan.
The company had previously set its sights on debuting 12 Viceland channels in 2016. The 24-hour lifestyle and culture channel is already available in the U.S. and Canada, via A+E Networks and Rogers Media, respectively, and is scheduled to roll out in the U.K. and Ireland on Sky in September. A French channel has also been confirmed to launch this fall via CanalSat – the first non-English language version to be offered by Vice.
A further push in Europe is expected.
The international channels are expected to include new Vice-produced localized programming, featuring stories, people, fashion and culture designed to appeal to young audiences in each country. The channels will also include Viceland’s global slate of original content, developed under the guidance of Oscar-winning film director, Spike Jonze, who serves as the network’s co-president, alongside Eddy Moretti.
The programming slate currently available in Canada and U.S., includes Gaycation (with Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, pictured), Huang’s World (with Eddie Huang), Noisey (with Zach Goldbaum), F*ck, That’s Delicious (with Action Bronson), Weediquette (with Krishna Andavolu). Vice is also readying the new half-hour unscripted series, Woman, hosted by one of the world’s best-known feminists, Gloria Steinem. The series is expected to bow May 10.
Smith said the channel’s success in reaching digital-first millennials – often referred to as “cord-cutters” and “cord-nevers” as they shun cable offering in favor of streaming services – in the U.S. and Canadian markets over the past two months represents the “fastest younging down of a network in television history.”
At the same time, the company is also experiencing strong success from its digital brands.
“Traffic has never been higher,” said Smith, adding Vice will roll out seven new verticals in the coming months, reportedly in areas of gaming, travel, money management and environmental sustainability, among others.
The Vice network already includes The Creators Project, dedicated to the arts and creativity, Motherboard, covering cultural happenings in technology, and the music channel Noisey. Last year, the company moved to shore up its reach among millennial women, with the launch of Broadly, a female-focussed digital channel.