Newspaper article International New York Times

Vice Media to Take over A&E Networks Channel ; Viceland to Be a Step toward Mainstream, with U.S. Lifestyle Coverage

Newspaper article International New York Times

Vice Media to Take over A&E Networks Channel ; Viceland to Be a Step toward Mainstream, with U.S. Lifestyle Coverage

Article excerpt

Vice, known for its brash content, takes a move toward the mainstream with Viceland, a channel that will deliver lifestyle coverage to U.S. viewers.

Vice Media, whose brashness has made it one of the hottest media companies, is getting its own cable channel. Vice and A&E Networks said they have put the final touches on a long-awaited deal for Vice to take over H2, an A&E Networks channel.

Vice will fill the cable channel, which will be called Viceland, with lifestyle and entertainment programming, including shows about music, sports, food and travel. The channel will start in late February, according to a person briefed on the deal, which was announced Tuesday.

Spike Jonze, a longtime Vice collaborator, is expected to be its creative director.

The cable channel represents another step in Vice's transformation into a mainstream media company. Founded in Montreal in 1994 as a free punk magazine, Vice has spun its rebel image into gold, attracting investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars from media giants that see value in its core audience of young men.

Most recently, Disney invested $200 million in Vice, according to another person with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the terms of the deal were private.

Vice has coveted a cable channel as another outlet for its original shows and as a way to lure more advertising dollars.

A&E and Vice said they would work together to sell ads on Viceland, which is to be distributed initially to roughly 70 million homes in the United States.

Both companies had expected to announce the cable channel deal in the spring, but it was held up because not all of A&E's distribution partners could agree on the terms.

For A&E, the move is part of a bigger strategic shift, said Nancy Dubuc, president and chief executive of A&E Networks. The television group has been pushing to diversify its portfolio of channels, which, along with H2, includes the History channel, Lifetime and A&E. …

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