In very Vice fashion, the Brooklyn-based media company turned its NewFront presentation into a party on Friday. Held at Center 548 in the Meatpacking District in New York, Vice’s presentation started an hour after check-in. While waiting, guests were invited to enjoy cocktails, while a DJ played music.
During the presentation, advertisers, executives and journalists watched a slick video that served as an introduction to the youth-branded media company. Cofounder and chief executive officer Shane Smith, clad in his habitual uniform of a black T-shirt and jeans, came to the stage to talk about the company’s new programming this year.
“What the f–k are we doing here?” Smith deadpanned. “Most people here are for Action Bronson and the free booze.”
He was referring to the after party where Bronson — who has his own show on Vice’s food channel Munchies — would later rap, and yes, the booze would flow.
Smith talked about Vice’s new HBO deal, which would allow it to expand its news programming, as well as allow the company to increase the “other” stuff it does, such as coverage of food, science, music and fashion. Spike Jonze was on hand and joined Smith, who made fun of the director’s energetic, high-pitched voice.
“Have you been drinking?” Jonze asked after Smith’s impression. “My assistant tried to cut me off,” Smith replied. “It’s a good thing I’m paying the checks.”
Jonze talked about his role as creative director for video, and why the company decided to do TV.
“The intention is to make television that is personal,” Jonze said, before clips from the new TV slate were screened. Ellen Page, who hosts a show called “Gaycation,” appeared in one clip in Japan entering a lesbian bar, and adding: “The last time I was here [in Japan], I was severely closeted.”
Other shows included clips on Karachi Fashion Week, a show on weed, gangs and carjacking, and baseball in Cuba for Vice’s recently launched sports channel.
According to reports, Vice has inked a television deal with A&E, which is one of the company’s investors. Prior to that news surfacing, Smith had told WWD at a White House Correspondents’ weekend brunch in Washington, D.C., that Vice was in the process of acquiring several channels. The partnership follows an expanded four-year deal with HBO, which allows the media company to add a daily newscast, as well as up the number of episodes it produces for the channel from 14 to 35. Vice will also create 32 special episodes for HBO.
The company is planning to open more offices nationally, including spaces in D.C. and Miami for election coverage, as well as an office in San Francisco.