Have you ever watched a Vice documentary? I’m inclined to assume everyone has but that’s because I run in the very demographic that creates and consumes the content that Vice produces.
Vice originally launched as a government-subsidized magazine in 1994 when it was still titled Voice of Montreal. In 1996, the publication changed its name to Vice and has since evolved from a subculture indie magazine stocking the shelves of American Apparel to a $400 million dollar media conglomerate. Not bad for a ‘zine.
Between its Youtube popularity, digital news site, HBO-produced series, and Viceland, its newly announced network channel, Vice has been a craftsman of new opportunities for audiences to engage with hard-pressing issues. Viceland will be launched in February 2016 as a partnership with their $250 million dollar investor, A+E Network. A huge part of its notable success has been the freedom with which Vice reports on stories that are ignored by other media outlets. Essentially, its willingness to take risks like pushing back on a government illegally detaining one of their journalists, or creating shows about weed culture, the culinary adventures of a rapper from NYC, and the (often dangerous, often painful) day to day life reality for members of LGBTQ communities in different countries has paid off in dividends as people continue to tune in.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Vice’s story-telling and brand evolves with this significant new foothold in the market. Their sneak peek for the network in the video below is worth-watching and made me in awe of the complex, often unseen reality for people living all around us. Humanity is pretty incredible. And Vice knows it, too.