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Vice Serves Up Brand Safety and Boxing at NewFront Presentation

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In a change from previous years, the big announcements from Friday's Vice Media NewFront presentation were not about upcoming cable or online programming, but about advertising solutions. The youth-oriented network is partnering with market research specialist Kantar to create Vice Voices, a "youth insights engine" to help advertisers understand how to speak to the younger generation. This audience panel lets advertisers gather opinions from thousands of young viewers. Vice says it takes an "audience-centric approach," and is built on a platform created by Kantar and consumer research company Lightspeed.

Vice will also work with Kantar to measure ad effectiveness, studying how its young viewers see content and ads, and how they think about brand messages. The partnership's goal is understanding how branded messages alter the audience's brand perceptions.

Vice assured advertisers their messages would find a safe home on its channels. It's clear brand safety is a central theme of the newfront season when even Vice is talking about it. While it would seem more natural for Vice to promise brand unsafety, the network is partnering with advertising analytics company Grapeshot to ensure advertisers that their messages will find a safe home with Vice. Grapeshot's technology will scan Vice's online content and categorize it, creating a brand safety guide for advertisers. Advertisers in the U.S. and Canada will get access to the guide in a few weeks, while advertisers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will get it shortly after that.

In content news, Vice announced it will bring several of its brands to Twitch, which is expanding beyond gaming video. Look for Vice properties including Motherboard, Noisey, and Vice News to appear on Twitch. This isn't the first time Vice has worked with Twitch, as it streamed a 72-hour marathon broadcast in the fall to launch its Waypoint gaming channel. Vice also showed a trailer for What Would Diplo Do?, an odd comedy in which James Van Der Beek plays the musician and DJ. The first scripted show from Viceland (Vice's cable channel), the series is also written and executive produced by Van Der Beek.

Announcements, however, are an afterthought at Vice newfronts. Last year, an inebriated and prone Shane Smith, Vice CEO, kicked things off by celebrating the growth of his young cable channel, then launching into a high-energy version of "If the Kids Are United." How to top that? Vice chief of staff Niall Cooney and celebrity chef/Vice host Eddie Huang settled an office beef in a boxing ring in a three-round match. This was no polite exhibition event, as the pair had clearly trained and were out for victory. While Cooney seemed in better form and was the crowd favorite, Huang delivered more and was named the victor by decision. Once again, the Vice NewFront topped itself and was a must-attend ticket.

Vice staff settling things in the ring

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