Vice is launching six new verticals and will expand its TV presence by adding 20 new channels around the world. But that's probably not what buyers will take away from the millennial-skewing media company's NewFront presentation Friday afternoon.
Perhaps aware of how weary media buyers are following a week that included AOL taking over New York's South Street Seaport and Sia putting on a show-stopping performance YouTube's BrandCast, Vice had what has to be among the shortest presentations in NewFront history.
"We're going to do something a little bit different tonight," said Vice founder Shane Smith, after coming out on a dimly-lit stage at Pier 59 Studios' Stage C. "I'd like to preface the evening with saying I've had a few ales."
Smith's remarks, half of which came while he was lying down, lasted less than 10 minutes, mostly talking up Vice's history, from its roots as a Canadian-based print magazine to one of the largest digital media companies in the world. But at least he remembered he had a job to do. "I'd like to talk to you about Vice, because that's my job," he said. "I am the Russian bear that shits on the floor for wooden nickels."
Smith briefly mentioned Vice's new Viceland TV channel with A+E Networks. In the 67 days since launch, Viceland is the fastest aging down of a network in TV history, Smith claimed. Viceland replaced H2, which targeted adults 25-54, a much older demo than Viceland intends to reach. Smith added that they've done ad deals with Unilever (already a launch partner for their Broadly digital channel), Samsung, ABI, Bank of America, Toyota, T-Mobile, Diageo and Shinola.
The six new digital channels will cover Health, Gaming, Travel, LGBTQ, Money and Sustainability, bringing the total to 17 different verticals for Vice, which has seen its web traffic fluctuate in recent months. Smith said he's also looking for more multi-platform deals similar to the one they cut with ESPN earlier this week.
Smith then abruptly cut off his speech and joined the house band for a performance of Sham 69's "If the Kids Are United." The house band was made up of Nick Zinner and Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jaleel Bunton of TV on the Radio, and producer Money Mark.
The presentation-turned-party continued into the evening with special guests Win Butler from Arcade Fire, Pusha T, Charli XCX, Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino, Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves, Kurt Vile, and Kristin Kontrol.
— iab (@iab) May 6, 2016