Inside Content


VICE Studios on their AVOD approach and strategic partnerships


Hayley Bull Director

In this episode of ‘Inside Content - the TV Industry Podcast’, I speak with Kate Ward, President of VICE Studios, VICE Media Group’s international television and feature film production arm. Kate takes us through their five lines of business – VICE Studios, VICE digital, VICE News, Virtue and VICE TV - America’s fastest growing entertainment cable network.

One of the highlights of the episode was discussing the complex TV distribution ecosystem and how the traditional windowing strategy is being challenged. Kate explains that you need to have a consumer-first mindset when you are building your TV distribution plans. She discusses how VICE has a great advantage in that they are an authority for the younger demographic and that their premium content is tailored around subjects and issues that matter to that audience - in a tone that resonates with them. AVOD is a key focus for VICE Studios and Kate explains that they are in active conversations with all the major players. “AVOD has a particular kind of business framework in that it’s non-exclusive rights predominantly… I think that you are able to get that mass reach”. She explains that the consumption on these platforms is extraordinary, as is their ability to attract new audiences and there is no doubt that AVOD is an important space.

Kate discusses the launch of their distribution arm during the height of the pandemic in 2020. “The impact of COVID-19, was an enormous appetite for content… VICE was sitting on an 1,000 hour library of premium content that had not previously been marketed or distributed. Kate explains that the timing of this business strategy pivot couldn’t have worked out better, as it coincided with a huge demand of content, the growth of new players in the form of AVOD channels and a general move towards unscripted programming.

Other topics discussed included the importance of strategic partnerships including SBS Australia and All4, the importance of their linear TV business and their relationships with Pay TV services.

Here is a breakdown of the topics discussed in this episode:

[01:40] Introduction to VICE Media Group and the lines of business

[05:13] The launch of the new VICE distribution arm during the height of the pandemic, and the key learnings?

[07:08] What impact did Covid-19 have on TV production?

[09.15] Can you tell us more about VICE’s partnership with All4?

[10:37] Is AVOD an important focus for VICE?

[15:45] How does VICE balance supplying shows to your own services (vertical integration) versus licensing content to third party services? Have you established a windowing structure that works?

[19:08] How important are Vice's linear TV channels to the business?

[21:03] How important are strategic partnerships (i.e. SBS Australia) to your distribution strategy?

[22:47] What do you think VICE's relationships with Pay TV services will look like in the future?

[24:32] Can you give us an idea of the scale and focus for VICE Studios, including global productions and plans for the future?

[28:20] What new shows are you excited about?

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