Vice media to launch its own cable TV channel

Tuesday, Mar 01, 2016

Venture with A+E, which goes live Monday, has assembled roster of big advertisers drawn by promise of a young audience

When Vice Media made its first foray into basic cable nearly a decade ago, with programming on MTV2, its scrappy documentaries on topics like rotting islands of ocean garbage sent advertisers fleeing.

Now, a more mature-and far more valuable-Vice Media is set to become the first digital-media company to launch its own cable-TV channel, a joint venture with A+E Networks, and marketers appear to have forgiven any past sins.

The network, Viceland, goes live Monday, and has drawn a roster of major advertisers with its promise of a young audience and of reinventing a traditional TV-ad model that's increasingly out of fashion.

Unilever PLC, Bank of America Corp., Smirnoff maker Diageo PLC, watch and apparel maker Shinola, Bushmills whiskey, Mailchimp, Samsung Electronics Co., T-Mobile US Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp. have signed on to the network, which has pledged to carry only about half of the 18 minutes of ads that most cable networks air in an hour of programming.

Within a year, Viceland is aiming for roughly half its advertising inventory to be made up of "native" ads-ads packaged to look like editorial content and keep audiences from tuning out. Often made by Vice itself, these spots will frequently be longer than a typical 30-second ad and will be tailored specifically for the network, whose other owner, A+E, is jointly owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp.

"We are trying to displace the clutter by injecting some humanity and authenticity," said Eddy Moretti, co-president of Viceland and Vice's chief creative officer. "If we create a user experience that is more engaging than what else is on the dial, people won't flip."




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