Vice Media launching own cable channel, looking to revolutionize linear TV ads

Becoming the first digital media company to launch its own cable channel with today's debut of Viceland, Vice Media is looking to shake up the monolithic practice of delivering TV ads through 30-second spots.

The company built its edgy brand on gritty documentaries that haven't always appealed to advertisers. The new channel — a joint venture with A+E Networks — has attracted plenty of sponsorship interest, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Formerly A+E's H2, the entertainment and lifestyle-themed Viceland touts sponsors including PLC, Bank of America Corp., Diageo PLC, Shinola, Bushmills, Mailchimp, Samsung, T-Mobile US and Toyota.

Viceland is seeking to appeal to its younger demographic with new approaches to commercial presentation. For example, the ad load for Viceland will be about half the average 18 minutes per hour found on most cable networks.

And within a year, the network execs want half the ads running on the channel to be "native" — produced to look like show content rather than commercials.

"We are trying to displace the clutter by injecting some humanity and authenticity," said Eddy Moretti, co-president of Viceland and Vice's chief creative officer, to WSJ. "If we create a user experience that is more engaging than what else is on the dial, people won't flip."

WSJ notes that other programmers, including Turner Networks, are exploring similar ad-delivery strategies.

"Consumers are basically stating that the experience needs to be a little bit better," said Donna Speciale, president of ad sales for Turner Broadcasting. "We are taking it very seriously."

As for the joint venture, A+E now controls 15 percent of Vice Media, while Vice owns 50 percent of the rebranded H2.

For more:
- read this WSJ story

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