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A+E, Vice Set to Launch Viceland Network

It’s official: A+E Networks will team with online global company Vice Media to create a new 24-hour channel with a working title of Viceland.

Viceland will take over A+E Networks outlet H2 in early 2016 and re-launch to approximately 70 million homes, said A+E officials. The network is currently in 74 million homes, per Nielsen.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Published reports have said the Walt Disney Co. – which owns A+E Networks along with Hearst Corp. – will also invest in the channel. A&E last year invested $250 million for a 10% share in Vice Media.

The network, which had been rumored about since early spring, provides A+E Networks with a millennial-targeted channel to complement its older-skewing services Lifetime, History and A&E. 

“Vice has a bold voice and a distinctive model in the marketplace," Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A+E Networks, said in a release. “This channel represents a strategic fit and a new direction for the future of our portfolio of media assets.”

For Vice, the deal provides the online company with a linear cable service, providing the company with another platform to distributed its original content, according to Shane Smith, Vice co-founder and CEO.

“This network is the next step in the evolution of our brand and the first step in our global roll-out of networks around the world,” Smith said. “First: It allows us to be truly platform agnostic and enable our audience to view our content wherever they want. Second: It represents a continued growth in our content quality and raises the ceiling even higher for our brilliant teams to attack stories from long form features to multi-episode series and even short form interstitials that will challenge the accepted norms of current TV viewing. Third: We will test new and innovative monetization strategies placing Viceland at the pointy tip of the spear of the rapidly changing terrain of TV advertising."

A+E Networks will oversee technical operations and distribution and will work with Vice on ad sales and sponsorships. Vice will also handle all marketing across all platforms, utilizing its various relationships with partners across mobile and digital. 

Director and Vice partner Spike Jonze will oversee production of the channel, which will feature hundreds of hours of original programming produced by Vice. New primetime shows slates for Viceland include Gaycation (with Ellen Page and Ian Daniel), Huang’s World (with Eddie Huang), Noisey (with Zach Goldbaum), Vice World Of Sports (with Sal Masekela), Black Market (with Michael K. Williams), FlophouseParty Legends and Weediquette (with Krishna Andavolu). Jonze, Smith and other Vice officials had previewed the lineup for reporters and advertisers in May at a Newfronts event, before Vice was ready to confirm publicly the plans for the network. At the time, Vice merely said, optimistically, the shows were "coming this fall." 

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.