Vice Distribution, the distribution division of Vice Media Group, launched on July 2020 to distribute content from across the entire group and monetize its vast amount of IP. Bea Hegedus, Head of Global Distribution at Vice Media Group, described the first year of the division and commented about the company’s expansion plans and goals for 2022.
▸ How would you define Vice Distribution's first year as a new player in the global arena?
“We have had an incredible year with revenues up 500% from last year and we have grown our catalogue with 250 hours of new premium content. This year, we have had great success with new revenue models that the group has not capitalized on before, and we have signed a number of pre-sale and co-production deals for our hottest and newest titles”.
▸ The company launched its first slate of programming in 2021, with 250 hours of non-scripted content. How was the first feedback from global buyers?
“We have officially launched our entire catalogue with 1000 hours of long-form library and 250 hours of new programming at the beginning of 2021. Our partnership strategy has paid off, and we now have strategic partnerships in place with SBS Australia, Tubi, Hulu, All4, Roku, Pluto, and Discovery+, and have had our long-standing Bell Media partnership in Canada. We launched our first FAST channel on The Roku Channel and Samsung TV Plus in May 2021, with many more collaborations to be revealed early this year”.
▸ What is the current strategy in terms of original production and acquisitions in order to reinforce your distribution catalogue?
“We are currently focused on the distribution of original productions and co-productions from across the Vice Media Group, and exploring the possibility of working with third-party content that approaches its subject with the same unique lens as Vice does. We produce thousands of pieces of original content of various lengths per day, and therefore our focus is monetizing our vast catalogue and building long-term partnerships with both linear and on-demand channels that want to reach younger audiences. We are constantly adding new content to our catalogue, thanks to our partners across Vice Media Group including our production arms Vice Studios, Pulse Films and Vice World News, as well as content commissioned from other independent production companies for our US broadcaster and producer Vice TV”.
▸ How do you analyze the international demand for crime, documentary, current affairs, and political entertainment?
“We have seen a significant increase in demand for our crime and true crime series, and our investigative journalistic background has allowed us to create excellent in-depth documentaries and series about stories that have been important or trending this year, which especially captivate and excite Vice’s core younger audiences. Following the long-term dominance of scripted content, we are definitely seeing a shift in appetite for great documentaries and unscripted content. Our strength is reaching younger audiences that are difficult to engage and keep, and our content excels at both”.
▸ What are expansion plans and goals for 2022?
“We hope to continue to build long-term partnerships with broadcasters internationally turning our attention to EMEA, Latin America and the Asian markets while continuing to grow our strong North American business. We will also be rolling out our FAST channel to more connected TV platforms internationally, as we look to grow our D2C offering. Vice is a powerful consumer brand with a proposition that really connects with audiences, therefore we want to reach as many people as possible with our content, and grow our global reputation as a premium content creator”.
▸ What business opportunities do you observe in the Latin American and US Hispanic markets?
“These markets are hugely exciting and full of creative talent. We are seeing increased demand for local language content and are therefore bolstering our production pipeline in the region from Vice Studios, Vice TV and Vice World News. There are also multiple new broadcast players appearing which means more buyers, and the global expansion of HBO Max into Latin America earlier this year marks an important milestone for the content business in the region”.
▸ How does the appointment of Edgar Jaramillio reinforce that strategy?
“With the exciting appointment of Edgar, Vice Studios is looking to increase its footprint in Latin America with a focus on Latinx content and authentic stories for the region. We look forward to taking these original productions to our network of international buyers, and increasing the visibility of these stories around the world”.
By Diego Alfagemez and Federico Marzullo