One of the worst-kept secrets this Upfront and Digital Content NewFronts season is that Vice is expected to ink a deal with A+E Networks to get its own channel. While media buyers and the press have eagerly been awaiting the official announcement, the millennial-leaning media giant refused to confirm the reports during its NewFronts presentation in New York.
Instead, it teased that it would have a "new channel this fall" during an epic trailer featuring its upcoming slate, not distinguishing if that would be on linear or digital platforms.
"The interest in the stories that we're doing show an interest in humanity," Vice CEO Shane Smith said. "It doesn't matter if it's the news cycle."
The Hollywood Reporter previously reported that A+E Networks' H2 channel would be rebranded as a Vice channel. According to the Los Angeles Times, A+E Networks and Vice are unwilling to officially announce the deal because DirecTV has yet to sign off.
Sources close to the situation say Vice was interested in the A+E Network opportunity because most of Vice's videos are hosted on YouTube. Although YouTube gives Vice a better deal than the typical 45/55 percent creator split, the media company could be looking to bolster its advertiser dollar revenue. A+E Network bought a 10 percent stake in Vice in late August 2014. Vice did not comment on the TV channel speculation.
Instead, the media company focused on highlighting upcoming content. Sal Masekela, the host of new series Vice World of Sports, was the official emcee of the night. Other shows include an LGBT-focused program led by actress Ellen Page; food programming with Eddie Huang (who provided the food for the afterparty); and a series featuring comedian Marc Maron and rapper Action Bronson.
Spike Jonze, Vice Media's creative director, also took the stage to say a few words. During a tender bro-hug moment, Smith credited the director with launching Vice into video.
Throughout the jovial presentation—which was the shortest presentation to date this NewFronts season, to the delight of the attendees—Smith emphasized there are more shows to come from the media company.
He didn't provide any hard stats about the company's reach and resonance. Smith did, however, applaud Vice's recent deal with HBO, which will give it a daily news show and several specials. Smith added that the ad-free nature of premium cable allows Vice to do "whatever the fuck we want to do."