Rogers Communications and Vice Media are teaming up to create a new Toronto-based production facility and TV network that will bring Canadian-focus to Vice’s gritty youth-focused journalism.
Vice Media was launched as a magazine in Montreal in 1994. It later moved to the U.S. and branched out into other forms of media, winning numerous Emmy awards and garnering international attention for its grass-roots approach to journalism that targets young adults.
In one of its more-controversial pieces, Vice documented a trip to North Korea by The Harlem Globetrotters and NBA star Dennis Rodman to play for leader Kim Jong-un (See that story below).
In a joint statement Thursday, the companies said Vice will have creative control of the content that will be presented in a range of formats, including news, drama and documentary and appear across all platforms, including mobile phones, tablets and television screens.
Rogers said the Vice Canada Studio will help the company reach younger audiences that tend to consume news on mobile devices. According to data in their joint press release, nearly 70 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds receive news and entertainment from their mobiles, tablets or a computer, versus only 30 per cent of 40-year-olds and over.
The $100-million venture will launch in 2015.
“We wanted to build a powerhouse for Canadian digital content focused on 18 to 34-year-olds,” said Guy Laurence, Rogers president and chief executive officer. “VICE was the obvious choice to partner with… We’re going to shake up Canada with exciting, provocative content and we’ll export it around the world.”
Vice bills itself as a “global youth media company” with 36 offices across the world. It operates a television and feature film production studio, its original magazine, a book-publishing division, and a record label.
“This year we return to our homeland, all our hard lessons learned, to build from scratch a completely horizontally and vertically integrated ultra-modern media entity,” Shane Smith, Vice Media’s founder, said.
“We are as excited as hell to be doing this with [Rogers] and excited as hell to build our most ambitious project to date in Canada,” Smith said
The production studio will include an incubator to train students and new journalists.
Some of the content to be created by the Vice Canada Studio, includes: mobile news blasts exclusively for Rogers and Fido customers; a brand new slate of television formats developed, produced and made with new Canadian talent to air on the Vice TV Network; mobile adaptations of Vice programs such as the environmental show Toxic; and F*ck That’s Delicious starring the rapper and former chef Action Bronson.
Disclaimer: VICE Canada properties form part of the joint venture between Rogers and VICE Media. Fido is owned by Rogers, the owner of this news station and website.