By Sahil Patel
Backed by $100 million in Canadian dollars, the venture will finance and support content created by the new Vice Canada Studio, which will be based in Toronto and operate under Vice’s creative direction. The studio will be dedicated to producing content for young Canadians and distributing it across TV, computer, and mobile screens.
On content, Vice Canada Studio will focus on news, drama, and documentary formats, spanning food, sports, fashion, tech, and other relevant verticals. The studio will also partner with young Canadian directors, producers, journalists, and editors to create the “next wave of great content” from North of the Border, the companies said.
This content will be available across Vice digital properties in Canada, as well as Vice Plus, a mobile platform offering access to original programming like the environmental series “Toxic” and food series “Fuck That’s Delicious” with Action Bronson. Pilots for new Vice shows will also be made available on Vice Plus.
Then there’s the Vice TV Network, a TV channel that will be distributed across Canada. Rogers is a top cable operator in the country, serving more than 2 million customers across the country. The channel will feature a new slate of TV formats developed, produced, and made in partnership with Canadian talent.
Other elements of the joint venture include an incubator that features programming and workshops designed to nurture students and emerging journalists across Canada.
“It was 20 years ago, deep down in the port of Old Montreal that we set out to try and make a magazine that didn’t suck,” said Shane Smith, founder of Vice, in a statement. Now Vice is coming back to essentially build “a content creation hub that will generate premium video for a cutting edge media company that will program — simultaneously — the holy trinity of convergence; mobile, online, and TV.”
“We wanted to build a powerhouse for Canadian digital content focused on 18- to 34-year-olds,” added Guy Laurence, president and CEO of Rogers. “We’re going to shake up Canada with exciting, provocative content and we’ll export it around the world.”
Vice Canada Studio and Vice Plus will launch in Canada in 2015.
This deal, as well as the one with A+E, means Vice will have its own TV channel (something it’s coveted for a while) in both the US and Canada.