Viceland Set to Launch in Australia on Nov. 15

Courtesy of VICELAND

Vice Media's youth TV channel will get a free-to-air slot down under after partnering broadcaster SBS.

Vice Media is partnering with Australian multicultural broadcaster SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) to launch Viceland down under as a free-to-air TV channel on Nov. 15.

Viceland will replace SBS’ youth-skewing digital broadcast channel SBS2. The new service, known as SBS VIceland, will be owned and operated by SBS with content and the name licensed from Viceland. Some local programming, including public affairs show, The Feed, will remain on the channel.

A statement from the partners said that SBS Viceland will "feature the best of SBS 2 news, sport and entertainment alongside the best programs from Viceland. The lineup will include new shows covering culture, music, sports, fashion, technology and more, from around the world."

 Details of the SBS Viceland schedule will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Announcing the partnership in June, Michael Ebeid, SBS managing director and CEO, said: “Exploring diversity through culture is at the heart of SBS’s purpose, and we are excited to be partnering with Vice to bring some of the best available content from across the world, never before seen in Australia, in documentary, journalism and inspiring entertainment, free to all Australians on SBS channels and platforms.”

Michael Slonim, Vice Australia managing director, added: “This is a unique partnership that will help catapult VICE further into the consciousness of young Australians. SBS shares our storytelling sensibilities and curiosity about the world, and we’re delighted to be partnering up to bring Viceland to this market in the biggest way possible.”

SBS2, which launched in 2013 as a youth-skewing service, currently has a share of around 0.9 percent of the total Australian free-to-air TV audience, and a slightly higher 1.3 percent share of Viceland's target 16-39 and 18-49 demographics. SBS is a hybrid commercial/public broadcaster.

The partners will be no doubt hoping for better figures than Viceland received after launching in the U.K. on Sept 19. According to U.K. media reports the channel, on satellite broadcaster Sky and streaming on Now TV is struggling to find viewers.

The Guardian reported this week “Vice’s much-hyped launch of its U.K. TV channel has got off to a rocky start, with some nights during peak viewing time achieving the dreaded zero rating audience figure”.

Viceland UK has only managed a peak audience of just under 14,000 during 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. in its first two weeks of broadcast, according to The Guardian.

That follows a drop-off in numbers five months after its U.S. launch but solid figures for premiere programs.

After launching in the U.S. in February, the channel has achieved ambitious launch targets, rolling out to 44 markets globally in four months, according to CEO Shane Smith.

Oct. 6, 3:45 a.m. Corrected with the Nov. 15 launch date, which had in a first version incorrectly been listed as Nov. 17.