VICE strikes mobile carriage deals

Global youth brand VICE Media will see major expansion of its mobile offerings to reach hundreds of millions of new mobile subscribers worldwide, including a significant roll-out in the Asia Pacific region.

Revealing the initiative at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, VICE Founder and CEO Shane Smith announced a series of deals that represent major inroads into the nascent mobile content market, further accelerating VICE’s multiplatform offerings as the youth brand continues to bring content directly to young people on whatever screen they are watching.

The new slate of partnerships includes original production, licensing, direct to consumer (DTC) offerings, and VICELAND programming, strategically placing VICE across all mobile content dissemination models.

Following these deals, VICE’s award-winning programming across lifestyle, culture, news, sports, food and more, will be delivered to over 80 territories by the end of 2017.

“When we first started to roll out our global terrestrial TV programme, people thought I was nuts, ‘going backwards’, and a victim of my own hubris,” admitted Smith. “Today we announce our first batch of international mobile deals that we will now marry with our TV platforms and digital platforms to offer a comprehensive three screen/one screen/OTT platform-agnostic media company that offers our content at all times – everywhere. As I sit here at Mobile World Congress with our new partners putting pins in a map and adding hundreds of millions of new eyeballs to our audience, I am excited by two things – a) the future, and b) the albondigas and Sangre del Toro that I will be enjoying as soon as our world domination plans are wrapped up for the day.”

The deals, with more expected to be announced in the coming months, include a strong foothold across the Asia Pacific region, with the launch of VICE+, VICE’s subscription video on demand (SVoD) service with DOCOMO Digital that provides original VICE content and curated content DTC in Japan, a country that has been at the forefront of this type of offering. This agreement has the potential for further expansion into territories in which DOCOMO Digital operates.

To create original mobile programming, VICE has reached major deals in Indonesia with XL Axiata and iflix, with the iflix agreement expanding into other iflix markets to be determined. VICE has also reached a partnership with Vodafone in Australia. These deals will see VICE create original, local content specifically for young people, driving the emerging platforms in territories with large young populations. These relationships will allow VICE to further cultivate the growing young audiences across the Asia Pacific region, territories from which VICE has long operated, growing its presence to three screens and reaching millions of subscribers across the region.

On the licensing side, VICE has struck deals with AbemaTV and Verizon that will see VICE content licensed across Japan and the United States, in addition to the significant original programming VICE already produces for each platform. To date, VICE’s channel on AbemaTV has reached millions of viewers per month. In the United States, the Verizon Go90 agreement, which enters its second phase, will allow millions of Go90 users to access VICE’s programming, which includes Daily VICE, a 10-15 minute show about the latest in culture and entertainment.

To expand VICELAND content to mobile platforms, VICE has extended its partnership with FIDO in Canada and reached a new agreement with Partner Communications in Israel that will allow each provider’s subscribers to access the full slate of VICELAND programming, 24/7, through the VICE app, and on Partner’s innovative next-gen OTT platform. These offerings are the first in their respective countries to provide authenticated, mobile access to a linear channel’s programming.

The new partnerships arrive at a time when VICE’s core demographic, 18-34 year olds worldwide, are increasingly devouring video content on mobile platforms, despite lack of a clear distribution strategy among content providers for the emerging platform. Today, more than 80 percent of 18-34 year olds in the United States are using mobile platforms to consume content, spending over two hours on average every day to view video and apps, according to Nielsen.

The numbers trend upward across the globe as well, with nearly 50 per cent of all video views worldwide on mobile platforms, and mobile video plays growing more than 115 per cent in the last five years.

“Mobile consumption is continuing to grow among millennials,” noted DOCOMO Digital CEO Hiroyuki. “We’re delighted to be working with VICE on this exciting project, bringing their unique programming to millions of users through our expertise in mobile and marketing. With the launch of VICE+ in Japan, we are excited to be bringing VICE’s distinct voice to other countries as well. Together we’re working to advance our aim of bringing to fruition the next generation of connected mobile platforms.”

FIDO Solutions VICE President Nancy Audette said: “We’re all about connecting our customers to content and experiences that they love. We know our customers crave cutting-edge content and want to be able to access it how and when they want, which is why our partnership with VICE is a natural fit.”

Partner Communications CEO Isaac Benbenisti said: “We are proud to join forces with VICE, as their innovative content offering and disruptive approach is in line with our vision for the soon-to-be-launched Partner TV service.”

VICE has developed a global reputation for producing the gold standard of video content for young people, forging distribution partnerships across mobile, digital and linear platforms with A+E Networks, HBO, YouTube, Snapchat, Sky, 20th Century Fox, Verizon, Canal+, and more to take its programming to young people everywhere. These deals significantly increase VICE’s vast international footprint, ushering in new audiences, revenue streams, and content production.

This significant international mobile content creation and distribution comes in the midst of major global expansion at VICE. In 2016, VICE unveiled a collection of international deals that, by the end of this year, will make its multiscreen programming available to audiences in over 80 territories including Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East and India. VICE also recently announced a major market expansion into Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest nation, that sees VICE operate a full-scale operation in the country, producing local content and creative agency services to reach the skyrocketing young population of over 100 million people in the country.

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