APOS 2016: Shane Smith, Viceland and ageing down networks

BALI: “Don’t hire traditional TV people.”  With those closing remarks during his keynote conversation at APOS 2016 with MPA executive director and  co-founder Vivek Couto , Vice Media co-founder and CEO Shane Smith set the tone for what his company stands for.

Smith stated that the media today  is changing. “The Baby boomers have run media for the past 40 years. Gen Y – which is companies like us - will run it for the next many years,” he stated with absolute confidence.

Like at a Mipcom a couple of years ago, Smith – dressed in shorts with a tattoo on his leg - reiterated that Vice hires interns and gives them money  to produce content for his network which includes news, food, music and lifestyle channels. “Yes, you give them $10 million. Sometimes you win, sometimes you get a law suit as the intern runs away to Mexico,” he said with a wry smile.

Smith was clear that he will extend his brand to all screens and he will extend his networks to other territories with local partnerships. Earlier this year, his company launched Viceland in both Canada (with Rogers Cable) and US (in partnership with A+E Networks and Disney).  Something which got sniggers from traditional TV execs that Vice was going the traditional way. But Smith has his point of view on this.

“Our extension to TV is helping ageing down the networks,” he stated. “We are bringing back the younger demographic to TV. We will produce anywhere there is a younger audience.”

His belief is that the younger audiences had no programming for them, which is what has helped succeed.  “Whether it is in China, India, Indonesia, we will move in there to serve our key demo,” he said.

“OTT and mobile are very important for us,” he added. “But so is delivery across television but with content which is of a quality that appeals to our audience.”

Viceland is a multinational television channel brand owned and programmed by Vice Media. Viceland's programming consists primarily of lifestyle-oriented documentaries and reality series aimed towards millennials, directed in Vice's trademark style of ‘character-driven documentaries’ 

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