A+E Networks and Vice Media have closed a deal for a joint venture that will transition A+E Networks’ H2 into Viceland (working title), a 24-hour linear channel programmed and produced exclusively by Vice. Launching in early 2016, Viceland will be distributed in approximately 70 million homes, and will feature hundreds of hours of new lifestyle and documentary-style programming developed and produced entirely in-house by the youth-centric media brand and digital content studio. Oscar-winning writer/directorSpike Jonze, a long-time Vice partner and creative director for the company, will be overseeing the development of the new channel, from show creation, to production, to brand identity.
The Vice-A+E Networks deal, which had been in the works for more than seven months, stems from A+E Networks’ August 2014 $250 million acquisition of a 10% stake in Vice Media, spearheaded by president and CEO Nancy Dubuc. I hear that as part of the deal for Viceland, A+E Networks has increased its stake in Vice Media to 20%. Separately, Disney, whose Disney-ABC division owns A+E Networks with Hearst, just made a $200 million investment in Vice Media. The Vice-A+E talks for the new channel had been tied to A+E Networks’ carriage negotiations with DirecTV, whose successful conclusion paved the way to the Viceland deal, securing the new channel’s wide distribution.
“Vice has a bold voice and a distinctive model in the marketplace,” said Dubuc. “This channel represents a strategic fit and a new direction for the future of our portfolio of media assets.”