Vice Media announces Middle East expansion

Published June 27th, 2016 - 09:00 GMT
Vice has hired an “independent management team” to adapt content to the region’s sensitivities and tailor programming to local markets.
Vice has hired an “independent management team” to adapt content to the region’s sensitivities and tailor programming to local markets.

Vice Media, a millennial–focused media entity known for its bold reportage, has ramped up its global expansion plans with several content and distribution deals across Asia, Africa and the Middle East that will expand its reach to 55 territories. The deals, which were announced by Vice’s founder and Chief Executive Shane Smith at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, include joint ventures with media groups in India and the Middle East, as well as broadcasting arrangements in Africa, Southeast Asia, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In the Middle East, Vice has partnered with Moby Group to bring its programming to 12 countries including Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to serve a “surging youth population” while in India, it has teamed up with the Times of India. It also plans to take Viceland, its 24-hour TV channel, to 17 countries in Africa and 18 countries in Asia by the end of next year.

Owing to the fact that Vice has previously faced challenges in the Middle East with three of its journalists being arrested in Turkey last year for reporting on clashes between police and Kurdish militants, the media entity has hired an “independent management team” to adapt content to the region’s sensitivities and tailor programming to local markets.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Vice and Moby Media Group will build local production operations across the Middle East and North Africa. According to the report, the focus will at first be on creating local content for online and mobile audiences in the region and will expand into television in 2017.

Vice seems to have grabbed the attention of major investors such as 21st Century Fox and Disney, who have already poured more than $700m into the company in the past three years, valuing it now at $4bn.

By Vijaya Cherian


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