So, let’s backtrack: I wrote a piece on Vice and why I believed it to be worth $1 billion. Then Twenty-First Century Fox took a 5 per cent stake in the the digital media and publishing group in a deal that valued the company at $1.4 billion. My pen obviously dictates top level international media acquisitions (wipe that smile off your face!).
Well summed up by the Financial Times, it’s easy to understand why the Vice crew were interested in a partnership in the first place:
VICE is planning an aggressive push in India through 21st Century Fox’s Star, and in Europe, where 21st Century Fox has stakes in Sky channels in the UK, Germany and Italy. Vice will also use 21st Century Fox’s media assets in India, where the company owns the Star platform.
What is interesting is how Shane Smith and his co-founders are building a global distribution platform through commercial alliances – but maintain in total control of the company. Minority shareholders hold about 25 per cent of Vice; the rest is held by Vice senior management. The founders, led by Mr Smith, will continue to have majority control of the board. The structure of the deal, Mr Smith said, “gives us the freedom to do what we want to do.”
And my god they are doing stuff. Financial Times again:
Vice recently moved into television, producing an HBO series, which was aired and then renewed by the cable channel. It has formed a joint venture with Antenna, the largest media group in Greece, and made a deal with Facebook, whereby it makes customised campaigns for advertisers. It has formed a similar partnership with Twitter to produce a daily news show composed of one-minute clips, and agreed a content production deal with Youku, the largest video site in China.
As I wrote in my last piece: “If you’re not ready to also work to get people to discover and consume your content, you might as well not create it at all.” Vice is working on that, alright.