Cannes Lions: Viceland to Launch in India, Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa

Shane Smith - Getty-H 2016
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"I announced that we would launch Viceland in 12 countries in 12 months and that is not true. We will, in fact, be launching in 44 countries," says CEO Shane Smith.

Vice Media's Viceland network has struck deals to launch in more international markets, including in India, Southeast Asia, Australia and Africa, among others.

Shane Smith, CEO and founder of Vice, unveiled the deals during a Cannes Lions event on Wednesday.

During the press conference, where the bad boy of media conducted the press conference holding a glass of rose wine, he quipped:

“When I first announced Viceland was going to launch in 12 countries in 12 months everyone rolled their eyes. And it turns out they were right, they were wrong. We didn't do 12 countries in 12 months; we did 44 countries in four months. We are doing television networks, mobile networks, online networks in 44 countries in four months, which is the fastest-growing television network in history," he said of Viceland.

The company unveiled a slew of international digital, mobile and linear TV deals that it said "will further cement its status as the world’s leading youth media brand, while making its multi-screen programming available to audiences across 51 territories."

In India, Vice partnered with The Times of India Group for its market entry across digital, mobile and TV, including a planned launch for Viceland as a "paid TV network." SBS Australia will launch Viceland in Australia, while Sky New Zealand will launch it in New Zealand on Sky TV and Sky Mobile, with Multi Channels Asia to launch the network across Southeast Asia. In Africa, Econet Media will make Viceland available on digital and linear platforms throughout Africa, and Groupe V Media will launch it in Quebec and throughout French-speaking Canada.

In addition, the Moby Group is Vice's partner for a launch of its services in the Middle East, with Viceland not mentioned as part of that initially.

During the press conference, Smith revealed that the previously announced launch of Viceland in France on CanalPlus is expected in November and it will be "well placed alongside international channels" on the dial. 

Smith also said that deals in Scandinavia and Germany will be announced shortly, and that the company is in talks with CanalPlus' parent company Vivendi to strike deals in other countries where the media monolith has properties.

The conference focused on the company's partnership with The Times of India, which Smith called "probably the most important millennial market in the world." It will launch in television, mobile, online and "the new fourth screen — print," he joked.

The Times Group is India's largest media group. "For us this is a big move to get into the minds of the 18-year-old socially and intellectually, and the business will cover all aspects of our group. It's not just a digital venture or TV venture. We've committed to building the Vice brand in India," said Times of India head of corporate strategy Snajeev Shah.

The programming mix will pull from Vice's international outlets, its HBO show as well as locally produced programming with the eventual goal of being 50/50 share of content. 

Talks began three months ago and the channel's launch will be expected in the first quarter of 2017. The joint venture is not currently structured at 50/50 but "the intent is to get to that soon," said Shah.

"These new partnerships are the latest move by Vice to bring its youth-focused content to as many territories as possible, mixing local and international news, culture and lifestyle programming to young viewers across online, television and mobile," said Vice.