“The new battleground for news is authenticity,” declared Kevin Sutciffe, Head of News Programming Europe at Vice. “We’re not shying away from the difficulties of reporting and we’re prepared to show the harsher realities of events in a way that many regulated terrestrial broadcasters cannot.”
The battleground is also over viewers, in particular the Millennial generation, which the online upstart believes have been excluded from mainstream TV news agendas.
“We launched Vice News 18 months ago to turn the commonly held misconception – that 18-35 year olds are not interested in news and current affairs – on its head,” Sutcliffe told delegates to ‘How Vice is changing the paradigm’. “Vice is a response to serving a part of the audience which is mobile, online and wants a fresh approach.”
Vice News has become the fastest growing such channel on YouTube since launch 18 months ago, gaining 1.45 million subscribers, 350 million video views and high engagement on Facebook.
“News doesn’t break in the newsroom, it breaks on Twitter,” says Sutcliffe. “Our films are made by journalists the same age as our audience and they are all switched onto social media to engage more deeply with stories.”
WPP, Fox and Disney/Hearst-owned network A+E Networks have taken stakes in the group valuing it over $2.5 billion and fuelling speculation of an IPO.
Recently, Vice extended a deal with HBO to produce a daily news programme and have its own branded channel carried on the HBO Now streaming service.