Times Group and Vice Media have announced a partnership to launch an Indian version of Vice. The partnership will also launch television brand VICELAND as paid TV network in India. Vice will be opening a new bureau and production hub in Mumbai and will create original content to be distributed across television, mobile, digital and linear platforms in the region.
Vice will be hiring journalists and filmakers and open local production studios. Vice says that it will airing tailored local news and lifestyle programming around the clock.
Vice Media also has other channels such as Noisey (music and reviews), Motherboard (technology news), Thump (for electronic music and culture), The Creators Project (a channel which covers mix of creative arts and technology) and Fightland (a channel on mixed martial arts). It also has a TV documentary series on HBO which focuses on an immersionist style of documentary film making.
— Satyan Gajwani (@satyangajwani) June 22, 2016
The partnership will be brought under Times Group’s Times Global Partners (TGP) who a similar deals with Gawker Media to launch Indian editions of Gizmodo and Lifehacker.TGP currently has strategic partnerships with Uber, AirBnB, Coursera, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Goal, Techradar, Investopedia and Advertising Age.
The Times Group pioneered the private treaties business, now called Brand Capital, which involved taking equity in companies in exchange for marketing inventory. An example of how private treaties deals were structured, here.
Part of global expansion
The Guardian reports that the Indian entry is part of a larger global expansion to more than 50 countries including Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
In Africa, Vice has a deal with Econet Media, an entertainment business that operates across sub-Saharan Africa, that will see 17 countries including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Kenya receive the 24-hour Viceland TV channel by the end of next year.
In Australia, VICELAND will be launched as free-to-air channel through a partnership with broadcaster SBS. In New Zealand, Vice has extended its operation via a deal with Sky to launch Viceland as part of its basic subscription TV package.
Vice Media funding
According to CrunchBase, Vice Media has raised $770 million in four rounds of funding from Disney Interactive, A&E Television Networks, 21st Century Fox, Technology Crossover Ventures. Walt Disney owns over 10% in Vice Media after investing $400 million in December 2015 and valued the company at $4 billion.
Times Internet’s acquisition of Willow.tv
In March, Times Internet*, the digital arm of the Times Group, acquired US-based sports broadcaster Willow.TV. The Times group committed $100 million to the purchase of Willow and their primary investment into the business – for rights acquisitions, marketing, and to grow cricket in the US market.
It’s worth noting that in 2008, Reliance BIG Entertainment had announced plans to buy 75% in Willow.tv for $60-70 million on the acquisition 0f 75% stake in Willow.tv. I 2010, Rajesh Sawhney, the then President of Reliance Entertainment confirmed to MediaNama that the deal never went through.
Image source: Vice.com