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Vice Media starts Indian journey promising edgy content

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MUMBAI: Global youth media brand Vice Media, which officially launched its operations in India on Thursday in partnership with the Times of India group, will bring content in Hindi and English and has introduced all its digital brands under the VICE.com banner.

Along with its digital brands, Vice will also premier a late-night prime time television block across the Times of India portfolio, bringing the best of Viceland’s award-winning content to a mass market like India. Viceland is a multinational brand of television channel owned by Vice Media, which also provides programming and was started in 2016.

According to a statement put out by the company, Vice India’s local content programming will span conversations across topics such as food, music, politics, sports, sex, identity, nightlife, arts, and comedy. The company plans to showcase a wide range youth-oriented content in the coming months, including local mental health crisis, sexual assault on university campuses, navigating life in India as an LGBTQI+ individual, the taboo sex industry, and political action in the region.

However, it must be added here that last month some media reports indicated that at least a couple of people associated with content generation quit Vice India alleging interference of corporate bosses in editorial matters, especially in those edgy news stories that involved a particular political party in India.

Beyond Vice’s main partnership with the Times of India group, additional partnerships, including with Facebook, will bring Vice’s content to millions of new viewers in the region through original local production and reporting, and licensing.

“We are humbled by the response we have received on our content as we launch and are excited to partner people, brands and organisations who are on a mission to connect with India’s youth and impact their future positively,” Vice India CEO Chanpreet Arora said in a statement.

New offices in Mumbai and Delhi will host full-scale Vice operations, including a local offering of Virtue Worldwide, Vice’s in-house creative agency, and a full-service content production studio, Vice Studio, producing local news, culture, documentary, film and scripted content for television, SVOD, OTT and digital platforms.

“A large number of people on Facebook in India are young. We are happy to see Vice Media launch in India and excited about the opportunity that people will get to see content that will be relevant, high quality and something, which will encourage meaningful conversations,” Facebook entertainment partnership head, Asia Pacific, Saurabh Doshi said.

Virtue Worldwide has entered into major brand partnerships that will provide creative services throughout India. Launch partnerships in the region include Mountain Dew (PepsiCo) and Anheuser-Busch InBev. On the heels of its global association, Vice India, in partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, will be working together to create, curate and distribute culture-centric content to augment the reach of the latter's portfolio brands such as Budweiser in the country.

"We are excited to extend our global relationship with Vice in India to collaborate on creating immersive experiences. We are confident that this partnership will allow both entities to cater and connect to the passion points of India's youth," Anheuser-Busch InBev India marketing director Kartikeya Sharma said. 

Hosi Simon, CEO of Vice APAC, who was in the country to launch the brand, said, “Our aim is to reach the aspirational mass audience, which is about to make their voices heard loudly in India. We are looking beyond urban India, into the regional emerging and highly curious youth population, which, we believe, will own the future of the country very soon.”

Rishi Jaitly, CEO of Times Bridge, the arm of The Times Group that has invested  in Vice India, expressed the hope that the operation would become the country's leading youth media company, “engaging and delighting millennial and Gen Z audiences” across the sub-continent.

More details on multiple platform partnerships would be announced in the coming months, Vice India said. But it is not clear whether Vice India has applied for Indian government permissions for the Viceland TV channel and whether it would be introduced here at all.

Also Read :

Vice Media to launch Vice India on April 2

Chanpreet Arora appointed CEO of Vice Media India

VICE to launch digital service with ToI Group 1Q 2017

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