According to founder and CEO Shane Smith, the latest round of funding will go to building a huge library of video content targeting millennials, covering a range of topics, including news, food, music, fashion, art, travel, gaming, lifestyle, scripted and feature films. While Vice is already known for its non-fiction content, including journalism and documentaries, scripted and feature films represent mostly virgin territory.
Another area of focus as Vice seeks to expand will be its music brand Noisey, launched in 2011. The company also plans more overseas expansion and will launch Vice Studios, a new multiplatform production house, to support the video push.
Explaining Vice’s strategy, Smith asserted the digital video marketplace is poised to explode, as digital content colonizes new platforms outside the control of big technology firms, including over-the-top (OTT) and direct-to-consumer video models, which should allow it to build on the success of its mobile, cable and broadcast TV offerings.
Vice itself began as a print magazine based in Montreal in 1994, although it has veered heavily into video during its recent phase of rapid growth, including “Vice on HBO,” a news and documentary series, and cable network Viceland, launched with A&E.
This round of investment did not include new contributions from previous investors Disney or Fox. Disney previously invested around $400 million in Vice by late 2015, giving it a 10% stake, while Fox invested $70 million in return for a 5% stake in 2013.For its part, investor TPG also holds stakes in other digital economy darlings like Spotify and AirBnB. TPG boss David Bonderman also sat on the board of Uber until last week, when he was forced to step down his position at the ride-hailing firm following an ill-judged sexist joke during a public meeting to address sexism and other corporate woes.