The Vice Media brand has been in aggressive-growth mode across the globe ever since the calendar flipped the page over into 2016.
That pattern also holds true in Canada, where the millennial-focused media co announced big plans for a content boom at the first-ever Vice Canada NewFronts presentation, which took place in Toronto on May 24.
Suroosh Alvi, Vice co-founder, joined members of the brand’s Canadian executive team on stage to unveil details of the planned expansion, leading with news of the launch of its brand-strategy arm, Virtue, north of the border.
Virtue, which Vice brought into being 2006 in the U.S., will function as Vice Canada’s in-house creative services division, according to Ryan Fuss, company chief revenue officer.
Vice Canada GM Nina Sudra also promised to vastly amp up the company’s French-language content offerings through the establishment of a Quebec division. To that end, the company has brought on board Delphine Poux as general manager of Vice Quebec. Poux is tasked with building up both the French-language programming library and the regional team behind it.
In addition, the company will launch six new digital channels, covering health, gaming, travel, LGBTQ and money (joining Vice’s existing roster of 11 owned and operated networks), and emphasized its commitment to VR storytelling, including stand-alone content and content that can be used to amplify other programming.
The Canadian event mirrored the larger, New-York-based programming event hosted by the IAB in Manhattan earlier in May. There, Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith focused on the explosive growth of the the company’s new linear channel, Viceland, boasting that it would be in 20 markets by the end of the year.
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 into Europe is expected.
At the same time, Smith said the company’s overall digital traffic “has never been higher.”
Excluding the new channels, 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-focused digital channel.