One of the most hotly-anticipated digital screenings at this year’s MIPTV was that of Vice, the digital media company that’s stretching its tendrils across YouTube, Snapchat and other platforms, but also into linear TV. This year’s showcase saw president Andrew Creighton, chief creative officer Eddy Moretti (photo), global head of content Alex Miller and publisher of Broadly Shanon Kelley take to the stage in the Grand Auditorium.
Miller kicked things off. “12 months ago, Vice came to Cannes and announced the launch of Vice News,” he said, recounting the tale of how at the time, he was in Venezuela facing a wall of teargas, reporting on protests in the country.
“With today’s technology and the multitude of content platforms that are out there, for any media company with a little bit of imagination and a little bit of passion can reach and engage with a new audience like never before. And that’s what we’re doing… through online, through TV and through mobile.”
“This generation don’t care what screen they’re watching their stuff on,” he continued. “The only thing that matters is storytelling. The only thing that matters is good content. And we’ve been saying this for years. We’ve been saying this since we first started making online video.”
He said that Vice News is the fastest growing news channel on YouTube, reporting on every single major news event this year from Islamic State to Ukraine, Ebola and Ferguson. “We’ve been there every time something’s happened. Vice News has not only totally revolutionised the Vice brand, but has also revolutionised the international media landscape,” he said.
It’s going to start a daily shortform show for mobile only, he announced, before outlining Vice’s plans to take all its channels down the path that Vice News has forged. “We’re going to be taking everything we’ve learned from news moving from online to TV to mobile, and we’re going to be doing it for every single one of our channels.”
He handed over to Kelley, who is in charge of Broadly, Vice’s upcoming channel focused on women. “There is no global platform that talks to women in the way we talk to each other, especially in the field of online content,” she said. “You are the first set of people, in this room, to see a sneak peek of Broadly.” And she cued up a showreel. “Broadly reports on the complexity of today’s real female experience. We don’t undermine women’s intelligence. We speak to it,” as the voiceover went.
She handed over to Moretti. “We create these digital channels that are driven by lots and lots of video, and this video is moving to lots of different platforms like Alex said, and in the case of news it’s going to HBO in a remarkable way,” he said. “This is not an American news show… it is a global news show. And that is the core of what we do: an international vision of the world and a passion to tell stories in a deep and meaningful way.”
He talked about Vice’s plans to launch a channel with live music firm Live Nation next month. “They have no relationship with the audience after that concert is over. They came to us and said how do we fix this problem? Well, we create formats that embody the spirit of live music that live on, and endure, and have a connection with live audiences long after the music has faded.” It’ll be launching a dozen half-hour and hour-long shows that will start online, with the potential to migrate to TV.
He showed Vice’s video for Arcade Fire, made for last year’s YouTube Music Awards:
“For us it’s not about formats, formats, formats, formats. We don’t have format fever. And it’s not about volume. It’s about quality, and creativity is really at the core of what we do,” said Moretti, announcing that the new Live Nation channel will make more “live music videos” of that ilk with artists on tour.
He finished with a nod to the biggest screen of all. “We are making feature films. We’re not planning to make feature films one day. We’re not working towards the hope of making feature films. I’m reading scripts now. We’ve green-lit films now… We have a partnership with 20th Century Fox and we will be making at least two films a year for the next three years,” he said.