Vice Media, the brash, Brooklyn-based news company, is about to get its own cable TV channel.
TV group A&E networks and Vice announced that H2, a spin off from the History Channel, will become a lifestyle channel with the working title of VICELAND.
Vice has long coveted its own channel and its cutting weekly global news documentaries aired on HBO have been a huge success commercially. In addition to earning some Emmy nods as well, earlier in the year Vice signed a multi-year deal to broadcast a daily half hour news show on HBO.
The new channel will be different from their traditional content, focusing on lifestyle rather than hard news. There will be a variety of shows about music, sports, travel and food. Spike Jonze, the director of films like ‘Adaptation’ and ‘Being John Malkovich’ is currently the creative director of Vice will fill the same role for the new channel.
“We wanted VICELAND to be different", said Jonze in a statement. "It’s us trying to understand the world we live in by producing pieces about things we’re curious about, or confused about, or that we think are funny. And if it doesn't have a strong point of view then it shouldn't be on this channel.”
The new channel will launch early February 2016, but indications suggest it won’t be just another lifestyle channel. All of the shows will be created entirely in-house by Vice, some of which include, Gaycation (with Ellen Page and Ian Daniel), Huang’s World (with Eddie Huang), Noisey (with Zach Goldbaum), VICE World Of Sports (with Sal Masekela), Black Market (with Michael K. Williams), Flophouse, Party Legends andWeediquette (with Krishna Andavolu).
Many of these shows were already unveiled by CEO Shane Smith and Spike Jonze at a presentation in New York last May. It's unclear whether other titles mentioned that day like 'Vice Portraits with Marc Maron' and even 'Fuck That's Delicious', hosted by the rapper Action Bronson will still make the cut.
Either way the content is likely to be a little more risque than H2’s normal schedule, which largely repurposed History channel content. H2 was launched in 1996 but is available in more than 71 million US homes and should open Vice content up to a new audience. “This network is the next step in the evolution of our brand and the first step in our global roll-out of networks around the world,” Shane Smith added in the statement.
It will be interesting to see how Vice content fares on cable TV, when much of its existing millennial audience are cord cutting and only streaming content online.
The deal has been touted since September 2014 when A&E, which is owned by Disney, and Technology Crossover Ventures both invested $250 million for an approximately 10 percent stake in Vice. With the new deal A&E is expected to increase its stake to 15 percent and Vice will own 50 percent of the new H2 channel.
The last investment valued Vice media at $2.5 billion, but if Shane Stokes’ claim that the company’s revenue is on course to reach $1 billion this year, are correct, that would put the media businesses net worth at closer to $4 billion.
Image via Vice