Vice, the New York-based millennial-targeted media brand, is going to launch in India on April 2nd. Hosi Simon, the company’s Asia Pacific CEO, announced the launch in Mumbai at FICCI Frames, an annual entertainment industry event. Simon said that Vice India’s content would be targeted at an Indian readership and that the company wanted to reach young readers beyond the thin slice of English speaking cosmopolitan elites, with content in regional languages.
While the launch itself has been imminent for the last two years — its partnership with Times Internet was announced two years ago — it has only announced a specific date now. The company will be a year behind its planned launch deadline of Q1 2017 by launching in April.
TV launch delayed
The launch will begin with a website with articles and videos, with full-fledged teams for both operations. While Vice wanted to launch a TV channel too, Vice Now, clearances with the Indian government haven’t gone through yet, according to a report by The Ken (paywalled). Pragya Tiwari, the first appointed editor-in-chief, left the company before launch, the report says. It’s unclear who will take her post. Among other teething pains have been the relationship with Times Internet, which is a common partner for foreign media organizations entering India. (HuffPost recently ended their partnership with Times after what they characterized as attempts at editorial interference)
Hosi Simon, the APAC CEO, said that Vice has partnered with media companies to distribute their video content. He didn’t specify who those media partners were, though that will probably be announced closer to launch. The Ken reports that Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are in the running to globally license Vice India’s content. While Vice has print magazine editions in other countries, it’s not clear if one will be released in India during launch.
According to The Ken’s report, Vice hasn’t really invested significantly in capital beyond paying its India employees. As such, it’s relying on Virtue, its partner-branding arm, to generate revenue from corporate brand partners. This is how Vice funds itself in other countries as well.