Vice­land gets ready to in­vade TV

Vice’s youth-cul­ture charge heads to­wards the ca­ble chan­nel mar­ket

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS - Una Mul­lally

The launch of Vice­land is near, and the trailer for Vice’s new 24-hour ca­ble chan­nel makes most other out­lets’ pro­gram­ming look lame. The chan­nel, which launches at the end of Fe­bru­ary, will cap ad­ver­tis­ing at eight min­utes per hour, and will take over the H2 chan­nel, owned by the A+E Net­work.

Vice has gone from a cult mag­a­zine to a me­dia com­pany val­ued at $2.5 bil­lion, in­cor­po­rat­ing the orig­i­nal mag­a­zine, web­sites, a news agency that fo­cuses most no­tably on doc­u­men­taries, a small book pub­lish­ing out­let and a record la­bel. But above all of that, at 22 years old, it ar­guably of­fers the clear­est voice on youth cul­ture in me­dia to­day.

Vice’s mix of as­tute cul­tural com­men­tary, ach­ing irony, ex­plo­ration of sub­cul­tures, and a hint of out­ra­geous­ness stands up thanks to the qual­ity of its out­put. It’s in­trin­sic knowl­edge of youth cul­ture, is­sues and trends, it’s cool­ness, it’s cred­i­bil­ity, and it’s ac­cess to and un­der­stand­ing of pre­sen­ters that ap­peal to its au­di­ence mean that, as a tele­vi­sion chan­nel, you’d imag­ine other chan­nels and pro­gramme-mak­ers will be play­ing se­ri­ous catch-up with its TV shows, which are al­ready win­ning Em­mys on HBO. So, what to ex­pect? Fuck,

That’s De­li­cious, pre­sented by Ac­tion Bron­son, fea­tures in the trailer, and that’s al­ready ar­guably one of the best cook­ery shows in the world. Ellen Page is on board for Gay­ca­tion, ex­am­in­ing LGBT is­sues across the globe. The ter­ri­bly named Balls

Deep pre­sented by Thomas Mor­ton will be “sort of like a for­eign-ex­change pro­gramme, but for sub­cul­tures in­stead of coun­tries”. A doc­u­men­tary on Comp­ton fea­tures Ken­drick La­mar. An­other on car­jack­ing in New Jersey is pre­sented by Michael K Wil­liams, best known for his por­trayal of Omar in The

Wire. Weed­i­quette is a show ded­i­cated to mar­i­juana; Mother

board ex­am­ines tech­nol­ogy and fu­tur­ism.

Vice’s doc­u­men­tary strand has al­ways of­fered its most in­ter­est­ing con­tent. And it’ll be those el­e­ments of dan­ger – cov­er­ing sub­jects other net­works won’t touch, and tap­ping into what young peo­ple ac­tu­ally want to watch – that peo­ple will ex­pect from Vice­land. You’d also have to imag­ine that while run­ning a 24-hour tele­vi­sion net­work is al­most old-fash­ioned in the era of Netflix and Ama­zon Prime, it’ll also open up pro­duc­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties for new tal­ent and new points of view.

Cre­ative di­rec­tor of Vice­land Spike Jonze with Balls Deep host Thomas Mor­ton

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