A+E Networks has inked a deal with Vice Media for a cable channel. Launching in early 2016, Vice will nab A+E’s H2 channel and rebrand it Viceland.
Programming will be developed in-house by the Brooklyn-based media company, which has tapped writer/director Spike Jonze to oversee the development of the channel. Jonze, who serves as a creative director at Vice, offered: “It feels like most channels are just a collection of shows. We wanted Viceland to be different, to feel like everything on there has a reason to exist and a strong point of view. Our mission with the channel is not that different from what our mission is as a company: 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.”
Clips of some of the programs had already been revealed to the press at Vice’s NewFront presentation in May. Those shows included “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,” and “Weediquette” (with Krishna Andavolu).
Whispers of the deal had been rampant since last April. Vice chief executive officer Shane Smith revealed the details to WWD at a pre-White House Correspondents’ Dinner party. Since then, there had been speculation that the deal may fall through.
But now that the ink has dried, Vice said its new shows would speak to a “growing white space” in the “realm of Gen-Y programming.” Vice co-founder and chief executive officer Shane Smith explained that the channel allows the company to be “truly platform agnostic” and to challenge how viewers watch TV.”
He added that Vice will also “test new and innovative monetization strategies placing Viceland at the pointy tip of the spear of the rapidly changing terrain of TV advertising.”
Vice will attempt to do that through its branded content experience. It will work with brand partners to “re-imagine the nature of the television commercial,” the company said.
Drilling down a bit, A+E Networks said it will oversee technical operations and distribution and will work with Vice on ad sales and sponsorships. Vice will also handle all marketing across all platforms, utilizing its relationships with partners across mobile and digital.