Vice Media will launch a suite of digital content verticals in the next six months as part of its strategy to establish itself as the global destination media brand for young people.
The magazine brand will roll out digital verticals spanning topics including sport, fashion, travel and food over the coming year, adding to its existing portfolio, which includes music brand Noisey.
The move forms part of the brand’s strategy to develop a content ecosystem, encouraging people to stay within its own channels. Vice Media group publisher, EMEA, Matt Elek (pictured) told new media age the plan is to replicate the model used for music site Noisey, a brand he believes has become the go-to place for breaking music from new and emerging artists.
“This idea of creating content ecosystems predicated on video and new music is a proven model so we are now rigorously rolling those out over other content verticals,” he said. “It is about providing a digital content experience that goes beyond that one vertical, where we can ultimately become a suite of channels that people peruse and consume in a way that traditionally TV has done.”
There has not yet been a single media brand that commands the youth audience since MTV’s heyday in the ’80s and ’90s, according to Elek.
“As MTV’s star has declined over the years, there hasn’t really been a ubiquitous global media brand that stood for all the things that are exciting about being young,” he said. “Our goal is to be the biggest, most exciting, culturally important youth media brand in the world.”
Vice’s partnership with the likes of YouTube will prove critical in achieving the necessary scale and reach to guarantee this, according to Elek. The brand was one of the first to become one of YouTube’s 100-channel partners with the Noisey channel, part of the latter’s ongoing strategy to bring more premium content to its platform.
It has now rolled out a second Vice-branded YouTube channel to complement Noisey, which generated 30m video views and hit 40,000 subscribers within two months.
“Our partnership with YouTube is mutually beneficial – we provide the content engine that drives a lot of engagement on the site, while we receive the reach and scale we need in return,” he said. “Vice has a reach of around 75m people per month but if we really want to be seen as the biggest, ubiquitous, all-encompassing media brand, we need to be talking in the hundreds, not tens, of millions, and that is the goal.
“We will be happy with Noisey when it becomes our equivalent of MTV, and vice.com becomes our CNN, and our forthcoming sports channel is our ESPN.”
The ability to cross-pollinate audiences between its YouTube channels and its own websites will be vital to its strategy of building a content ecosystem, as will connected devices, according to Elek.
“Connected devices, including mobile and TVs, will be critical,” he said. “We believe strongly that a large amount of video is being consumed on mobile and once 4G is properly implemented, that will transform the mobile space.”
Vice will monetise the new channels specifically via branded-content partnerships. “As we come from a media background focused on content and editorial, we are better at telling stories than perhaps a traditional ad agency might,” said Elek. “It’s a big area of growth for us.”
Vice will roll out a mobile-optimised sites for vice.com in the next few weeks, followed by the rest of its media brands. It is also exploring connected TV launch options.