Shane Smith


FRANCELAND: Vice Media chose Paris’ Yoyo club, an underground rave-like haunt, for the launch of Viceland in France, the lifestyle TV channel’s first non-English-language version.

“Everyone will see what Vice is over the course of the evening, because it will start sort of smart, then get progressively nastier and uglier. And then people will wake up and feel odd tomorrow,” joked Shane Smith, Vice Media chief executive officer and cofounder, speaking on a stage with Viceland copresident and award-winning director Spike Jonze (of “Being John Malkovich” and “Her” fame) during a press conference Tuesday night proceeding a bash.

The new 24-hour channel from the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based youth media company is to air exclusively on one of Canal’s channels starting Nov. 23 in a partnership with the French group.

“What’s happened with the Brexit, what’s happened recently in America, what’s happening here in France – there’s a need for a counterculture voice, a voice that Millennials trust. As Millennials grow and become more pissed off, we become a bigger voice of that generation,” Smith said.

Some of Viceland’s already existing programs will air dubbed in France. These include “States of Undress” (or “Sous toutes les coutures”), in which host Hailey Gates explores fashion scenes around the world; “Gaycation,” featuring actress and activist Ellen Page, and “Huang’s World,” hosted by food personality Eddie Huang. In addition, some programs will be produced in France, including “Franceland,” in which three young urbanites travel across France to discover the country, and “Marseille,” a show about the coastal French city’s music scene. While there’s no locally produced fashion program in Viceland France’s launch lineup, it is understood that such a show is not impossible in the future.

“One of the things we want to do is not just make domestic content. We want to make content here that we can put into all of our channels around the world. I think there’s universality [to] youth subculture,” Smith said, noting what’s key is to get the right balance.

“We’re on digital, we’re on mobile. To be on television, it’s just one more place to reach people. The platform is less important than the message,” noted Jonze.

“We had a problem with the Millennials,” added Jean-Marc Juramie, chief content officer of Canal, who detailed the three legs of the partnership. Distribution involves Viceland reaching 6 million households in France. Then there’s advertising, which will be handled by Canal, and communication, steered by Havas, the Vivendi-owned advertising group.

Viceland, which launched in the U.S. and Canada in February, in the U.K. and Ireland in September, and Australia and New Zealand earlier this week, offers a blend of lifestyle- and culture-related content for young viewers, including news, fashion, food, sports, technology, arts and music.

Vice Media plans to be present in around 50 countries by 2018, with India, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia on the radar next year. Vice currently operates in 34 countries and includes – along with the Viceland TV network – an international network of digital channels; a television and feature film production studio; a magazine; a record label; an in-house creative services agency, and a book-publishing division.

Vice Media launched in France in 2007 and debuted i-D France’s web site in September 2015. Since March, Vice France is part of a joint venture including Vice Media and Les Nouvelles Editions Indépendantes.

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