Vice ‘independence drove A+E, Fox investments’

Vice_logoDISCOP ISTANBUL: Vice Media’s managing editor has said recent outside investment from traditional entertainment groups came about because of the youth-focused company’s dedication to unique content creation, and such investments will not dilute that process.

During a session here at Discop Istanbul in Turkey today, Ryan Grim, responded to a TBI question about how Brooklyn-based Vice could remain independent while accepting multi-million dollar investments from 21st Century Fox and A+E Network by saying independence was key to the firm’s model.

Grim attributed the deals to the investors’ desires to reach new audiences, and said they would not affect the editorial line. “Throughout all of the investments we have always retained creative control,” he added.

This comes after Fox took a 5% stake in the company for US$70 million, and Disney- and Hearst-owned A+E followed that with a 10% stake that cost US$250 million, which valued the firm at US$2.5 billion.

Technology Crossover Ventures also ploughed US$250 million in the business, and the three deals raised eyebrows due to seeming clash of traditional media with the counter-culture values of the original Vice magazine.

Vice CEO Shane Smith was also quoted in December 2014 as saying the company would be “stupid not to think about an IPO”.

Vice’s senior editor, Benjamin Shapiro, added today that the rapid speed at which Vice could develop, produce and distribute content was a key component to the company’s huge recent growth. “That speed gives us the edge,” he said.

Vice’s stock in TV has risen since it launched a series on US premium cable in 2013. It has also launched a series of online video verticals, and has a revenue share agreement to produce content on YouTube.