For-profit

Vice Media Group

Type:

News Media Organization

Vice Media Group is a left-leaning for-profit media organization based in New York City. The organization operates numerous brands both online and in the broadcast media. The company has faced problems with profitability and labor issues among its international brands.

Brands

Vice is made up of numerous brands. Vice News is a worldwide news organization with a target audience of young people. It has correspondents from all over the world. [1]

Vice has a dedicated TV channel which shows its signature news program, “Vice News Tonight”, and other programs. The program previously aired on HBO. The network is a partnership with A&E Networks. [2]

Vice Studios is the creator of documentaries and other featured content. It was launched in 2017. [3]

Virtue is the creative agency which is owned by Vice. It has a presence in 21 countries. [4]

Vice Digital runs the online content and distributes articles, podcasts, and videos. It has an international audience. [5]

Refinery29 is a website which was taken over by Vice which is geared towards young women. It was purchased in 2019. [6]

Ownership

Vice has raised money by selling parts of the company off to various investors and media companies. Vice co-founder Shane Smith still controls 20% of the company. [7] The Walt Disney Company owns a substantial part of the media group as well. [8] A&E Networks bought a portion of Vice in 2017. [9] James Murdoch bought a portion as well in 2019. [10]

In 2017, TPG Capital invested $450 million into Vice as a part of $1.4 billion it raised from investors. In 2019, the George Soros-owned Soros Capital Management was part of an investor consortium loaned $250 million to Vice. [11]

Profitability

Vice has had a difficult time achieving profitability. In 2017, despite making over $700 million in revenue, Vice missed its revenue estimates by $100 million. The reason why Vice missed its revenue target was because of its struggling cable TV channel. [12]

In 2019, Vice set a goal of becoming profitable by the end of the current fiscal year. However, earlier in 2019, it was forced to lay off ten percent of its workforce due to a revenue slowdown. [13]

History

In 1994, Vice was founded as a free magazine in Montreal, Canada by Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi, and Gavin McInnes. In 1999, Vice moved to New York City. That year, it launched its first website. [14]

In 2006, Vice’s first TV program, “The Vice Guide to Travel,” was created and premiered on MTV2. The creative agency Virtue was also created in 2006. [15]

In 2008, Smith and Alvi bought out McInnes’s stake. They believed his humor was too edgy for the brand, among other issues;[16] McInnes would later become involved in extremist-right politics and the “Proud Boys” radical movement. [17]

In 2013, Vice News was created with the goal of targeting young people. In 2016, Vice’s TV channel, Viceland, was launched. [18]

In 2017, Vice Studios was launched. [19]

Leadership

The current CEO of Vice is Nancy Dubuc. Previously, she was the CEO of A&E Networks. She was brought on board to eliminate an alleged “bro culture” at the company which created a work environment reportedly hostile to women. Numerous executives were ousted over sexual harassment claims. [20]

Shane Smith, who is a co-founder of Vice, is the executive chairman of the company. Previously, he was the CEO of the company and resigned reportedly due to the continued failure of the company to make a profit. [21]

References

  1. “About”. 2020. Vice Global. https://company.vice.com/about/. ^
  2. “About”. 2020. Vice Global. https://company.vice.com/about/. ^
  3. “About”. 2020. Vice Global. https://company.vice.com/about/. ^
  4. “About”. 2020. Vice Global. https://company.vice.com/about/. ^
  5. “About”. 2020. Vice Global. https://company.vice.com/about/. ^
  6. Jerde, Sara. 2019. “Vice Media Group Will ‘Combine Forces’ With Refinery29”. Adweek. https://www.adweek.com/digital/vice-media-group-combine-forces-refinery29/. ^
  7. Robehmed, Natalie. 2017. “Vice Media’s Shane Smith Is Now A Billionaire”. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2017/06/20/vice-medias-shane-smith-is-now-a-billionaire/#1ebca661611b. ^
  8. Spangler, Todd. 2019. “Vice Media Gets $250 Million In Debt Funding From George Soros, Other Investors”. Variety. https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/vice-media-250-million-debt-funding-george-soros-1203205076/. ^
  9. Bond, Paul. 2014. “A&E Networks Buying Minority Stake In Vice Media”. The Hollywood Reporter. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/a-e-networks-buying-minority-729183. ^
  10. Nicolaou, Anna, and James Fontanella-Khan. 2019. “James Murdoch Buys Stake In Vice Media”. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2019-10-10/james-murdoch-buys-stake-in-vice-media. ^
  11. Spangler, Todd. 2019. “Vice Media Gets $250 Million In Debt Funding From George Soros, Other Investors”. Variety. https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/vice-media-250-million-debt-funding-george-soros-1203205076/. ^
  12. Wiedeman, Reeves. 2018. “Vice Media Was Built On A Bluff. What Happens When It Gets Called?”. Intelligencer. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/06/inside-vice-media-shane-smith.html. ^
  13. Spangler, Todd. 2019. “Vice Media To Axe 10% Of Staff, Laying Off About 250 Employees, Amid Revenue Slowdown”. Variety. https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/vice-media-layoffs-250-employees-1203125890/. ^
  14. “About”. 2020. Vice Global. https://company.vice.com/about/. ^
  15. “About”. 2020. Vice Global. https://company.vice.com/about/. ^
  16. Wiedeman, Reeves. 2018. “Vice Media Was Built On A Bluff. What Happens When It Gets Called?”. Intelligencer. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/06/inside-vice-media-shane-smith.html. ^
  17. Jason Wilson. “Proud Boys Founder Gavin McInnes Quits ‘Extremist’ Far-Right Group.” The Guardian. November 22, 2018. Accessed November 1, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/22/proud-boys-founder-gavin-mcinnes-quits-far-right-group ^
  18. “About”. 2020. Vice Global. https://company.vice.com/about/.   ^
  19. “About”. 2020. Vice Global. https://company.vice.com/about/. ^
  20. Spangler, Todd. 2019. “Vice Media Gets $250 Million In Debt Funding From George Soros, Other Investors”. Variety. https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/vice-media-250-million-debt-funding-george-soros-1203205076/. ^
  21. Spangler, Todd. 2019. “Vice Media Gets $250 Million In Debt Funding From George Soros, Other Investors”. Variety. https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/vice-media-250-million-debt-funding-george-soros-1203205076/. ^
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