“I’d like to preface this night with, I’ve had a few ales,” Smith said Friday evening. “I’ll get up. This is going to be a cover of a thing: ‘Shane laying down, he patently has mental problems.'”
Potential advertisers, Vice staffers and media types — including former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson — stood in a crowded, dark room in Pier 59 as Smith stood up and introduced a sizzle reel of Vice’s video content.
Although he didn’t want to talk business — the company’s NewFronts was billed as a party, and it was — he took a brief stab at it.
“We’re launching seven new verticals. Our traffic has never been higher. We’re the number-one new media company in the world,” he said, before instructing meandering Vice sales employees to put on George Washington-style wigs.
“Put your f–king wigs on,” Smith yelled. “The people in wigs will talk to you about business later.”
Those people would be stationed around the party to talk about Vice’s new shows, including a new Gloria Steinem show to debut on Viceland this month. But Smith gave his company one last pat on the back before turning the event into a full-on party.
He said Vice has “disrupted” media, before calling out its new TV channel, Viceland.
“We started Viceland 63 days ago,” he said. It’s the fastest “younging” down of a network in television history — ever, ever. We are bringing Millennials back to TV.
“I said that I was going to launch 12 channels in a year, the first year,” he continued. “It’s not going to happen. We’ve launched five already. We are going to launch 20 by the end of the year. What is that? It’s the fasted growing network in the f–king history of TV, 63 days.”
Smith went on to recite poetry for a few minutes before exiting the stage and turning the party over to different musical acts. As the lights slowly turned up, one group paid tribute to Prince with a “Kiss” cover, while advertisers headed to the bar and mingled with the wigged folk.