Vice Media Ramps Up Millennial-Focused Media Effort

Maybe we need another big millennial-focused media company. The secret sauce? Think TV advertising -- but way less of it. Some investors might be thinking along those same lines.

On Monday, Vice Media announced it has raised $450 million in investment from private-equity firm TPG. Shane Smith, CEO of Vice Media, told CNBC the new funding puts the media company’s valuation just under $6 billion.

The big monetary resources will let Vice grow, allowing it to build “the largest millennial video library in the world... [including] news, food, music, fashion, art, travel, gaming, lifestyle, scripted and feature films,” Smith says.

Currently, two of Vice Media's highest-profile media assets are its basic cable channel, Viceland, and its continuing news/documentary programming on HBO. Vice programming is also in 80 countries.

Early investors in Vice include 21st Century Fox, A+E Networks and Walt Disney. A+E has a joint venture with Vice Media for its Viceland channel, formerly A+E’s H2 channel.



As for Vice Media’s media competitor with traditional roots in cable? Viacom is an obvious candidate. At Tuesday’s close, Viacom had a market capitalization of $14.1 billion -- more than twice the private-equity valuation of Vice Media currently. 

Smith told CNBC he has no immediate plans for an IPO.

“Our revenue story is getting better and better. But it has to be more consistent,” he said. He noted the company was looking more for the “hockey-stick” trend line.

Vice Media isn’t alone. Many digital-media companies, including those with YouTube channels, want to be in the same space. At the same time, big companies like Viacom want to transform themselves.

In addition to its edgy content -- and to appeal to younger viewers -- Smith says Viceland’s goal has been to limit advertising to only 10 minutes of commercial advertising per hour. Many cable networks air well above this level, from 15 to 17 minutes per hour.

So where is the monetization with less advertising?

Early thinking was that Viceland would create special sponsorship/marketing deals. The jury is still out here. Smith says: “We are also looking at transactional -- direct to consumer [businesses]. And if we are going direct to consumer, we need to build a much bigger library.”

No traditional media company wants to be left behind when it comes to grabbing the next generation of adults TV viewers. So if Vice Media has figured out the monetization of targeting millennials, they want in. 

But are there any lessons to be learned -- in the short-term -- when it comes to traditional TV companies drastically cutting back on advertising to keep young viewers?

2 comments about "Vice Media Ramps Up Millennial-Focused Media Effort".
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  1. Bill Shane from Eastlan Ratings, June 21, 2017 at 2:25 p.m.

    Yeah, who proof reads your comments?  Man, either typo's or really bad grammar makes it hard to stick with the story because we have to stop and figure out just exactly what the hell it is you're trying to say.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy your articles very much, but whew, it's hard to stay with some days.  There are 3 biggies in today's; if you look closely you'll find them and see what I mean.  Despite my bitching, thank you for your articles.  They're very enteraining and educational.

  2. Debbie PATTERSON from Independent , June 23, 2017 at 6:40 p.m.

    Hey Bill not everyone knows how to puctuate.Some of us ADHD adults that are older didn't have special education classes,and some of us we're not able to take advantage of them do to family views.This doesn't make us stupid it just means we learn differently, I'm not saying he has a learning disability in English I'm just saying give Wayne a break. There's a man who is a big real estate magnet in Texas and because he has certain issues he has hired someone to do all his paperwork, that's great but not all can afford to pay someone for this and he's considered extremely intelligent. I've gotten similar messages from people and I refuse to be silent because I know I'm not dumb every test I've gotten at least a 97 so as my Mother's​favorite quote better to let Man think you a fool,than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. Just try not to Judge Thanks Deb

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