Vice Takes $450M in Funding, Plans Massive Millennial Library
The youth-focused network Vice Media announced it has taken $450 million in funding from TPG, a private equity firm. Vice will use the money to create Vice Studios, which will focus on creating scripted original video programming and other content.
In two previous funding rounds led by 21st Century Fox, A+E Networks, and Disney, Vice took in $400 million.
Scripted programming is a rarity at Vice, which typically offers news reports and unscripted reality shows. At the company's newfront presentation this year, it announced its first scripted show—What Would Diplo Do?, in which actor James Van Der Beek plays the musician and DJ.
“This will allow us to: build up the largest millennial video library in the world—enabling Vice to widen our offering to include news, food, music, fashion, art, travel, gaming, lifestyle, scripted, and feature films,” company CEO Shane Smith said in a written statement. Vice also plans to expand its multi-platform programming into 80 territories by the first quarter of next year.
Experts say Vice is paving the way to a public offering, with Shane himself noting the studio is meant to show investors that his company has a revenue strategy so it doesn’t need to rely has heavily on advertising.
Thanks to the new funding, Vice has a $5.7 billion valuation, notes Smith.
Two leading online publishers are combining, with Vice Media announcing it has acquired Refinery29 in a reported mix of stocks and cash.
While Vice has experienced a lot of changes in the past year, its new leadership aims to keep the publisher's uniquely off-center point-of-view intact.
Young adults watch videos on their own schedule, but are open to sharing information with advertisers if it means more relevant ads.
In today's advertising climate, even Vice needs to assure advertisers their messages will find a brand-safe home on its platform.
The youth network now has 4 cable channels in North America and Europe, and plans to launch 20 more by the end of the year.
Shane Smith interrupted the party to preview several new cable TV shows, but didn't offer details on the channel itself.