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Vice CEO Downs ‘a Few Ales,’ Pitches Plan to Launch 20 TV Channels Worldwide This Year

CEO Shane Smith delivers rambling pitch to advertisers on wider plan for network expansion

Youth-focused media company Vice said it plans to launch up to 20 new TV channels worldwide this year, after already launching its Viceland U.S. network in February and widening it to Canada, the U.K., and France.

As recently as last October, the company it planned to launch a mere 12 channels across Europe.

“It’s the fastest growing network in the f—ing history of TV,” CEO Shane Smith said Friday in a brief, meandering presentation to advertisers in New York City that began with the executive lying down on a stage out of sight because he said he was tired.

He also prefaced his remarks by saying he had “had a few ales.”

Vice also said it plans to roll out six new digital channels covering health, gaming, travel, LGBTQ, money, and sustainability.

The company said it was exploring more multi-platform deals like a partnership announced this week between Vice Sports and Disney’s ESPN. Disney is a part owner in Vice after investing $400 million in the company late last year.

With the Internet lowering barriers to demand for entertainment globally, television companies and their digital rivals have been racing to expand global reach.

Earlier this year, Netflix launched in 130 countries to make it a global online TV network everywhere but China, while premium networks HBO and Showtime have widened their distribution with pay-TV operator deals and their own to expand stand-alone online subscription option to new countries.

In February, A+E and Vice re-branded and reprogrammed H2 as the Vice network. A+E maintaining majority ownership of the U.S. channel, while Vice takes creative control and holding onto international rights.