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The former Conde Nast executive started on Thursday and reports to Vice co-president Andrew Creighton. He joins the edgy, brash media brand while it’s in the midst of a transformation into an established player. Vice, which began as a free magazine in the 1990s, today is valued at $4 billion and is on track to make close to $1 billion this year due in large part to a string of deals including with HBO and Canada’s Rogers Communications.
“Vice is the fastest-growing company in the media landscape,” Beckman tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Their connection to great passion points across a wide array of categories and their unique relationship with millions of constituents as a rainmaker — it’s like waving the dinner bell for a piranha.”
Beckman spent 24 years at Conde Nast, where he served as president of Conde Nast Media Group for five years. In 2009, he moved within the company to become president and chief executive of Fairchild Fashion Group, which has since been sold to Penske Media. He left the company where he made his career in 2010 to oversee Prometheus Global Media, the parent company of The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, now known as Guggenheim Digital Media. He departed from the company in 2012, after overseeing the reinvention of THR into a weekly glossy magazine, and went on to form Three Lions Entertainment, which produced CBS special Fashion Rocks last year.
Beckman is one in a string of experienced executives that Vice CEO Shane Smith has brought in to help him lead the company, including COO Alyssa Mastromonaco and co-president James Schwab. Beckman says he’s always sold these traditional media brands as agonistic platforms, which will serve him well in his new role at Vice. “I’m very comfortable talking across platforms,” he adds.
Within the last year, Vice — which is backed by A+E Networks, 21st Century Fox and Technology Crossover Ventures — has struck a $100 million deal with Rogers to produce content for TV, smartphones and desktops and picked up a multi-year deal with HBO to launch a daily newscast. The company is also said to be working with A+E Networks to rebrand the H2 cable channel as a Vice network.
“To be given the opportunity to lead the charge [at Vice] with this rich array of assets with the vitality that they have is a fantastic opportunity,” Beckman says. “I’m excited to be here.”
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