When Guy Laurence started as CEO of Rogers Communications last December, he declared he was going to shake things up – and that, indeed, he is proving to do. Following the announcement of partnering with Shaw Media to launch Shomi — not to mention the bold move of bringing George Stroumboulopoulos on to host Hockey Night — he announced yet another unexpected collaboration yesterday… with VICE Media. That’s right, Rogers and VICE are teaming up to open a Toronto-based multimedia production studio. The partnership’s goal is to create edgier content for the Rogers’ audience but also allow VICE to share through their digital and broadcast space. With the focus on creating for mobile, the partnership with Rogers enables VICE to share their content across all platforms including phones, tablets, the web, and television.
So why exactly did Laurence partner with long-time friend and VICE founder, Shane Smith? Turns out, over a couple of beers in a pub, they had dreamed the idea of building a place where VICE could offer young people the space to create innovative and interesting content and then maximize the exposure through the digital realm. “I believe my content is better than anybody else’s so I want it to go out to as many people as possible,” said Smith at yesterday’s press conference. In a world where the digital and mobile spaces rule people’s lives, this dream-turned-reality is not only logical, but also exciting for content creators of the future.
Together, the companies have invested $100 million over the next three years to execute this project, which will include a VICE channel on the Rogers network. The channel will deliver content only available to Rogers subscribers — however, the studio space will allow Canadians to generate content to be shared throughout all VICE channels.
Scheduled to open in early 2015, Smith stresses that whether or not someone has a resume, the studio is open to all and welcomes all ideas for content creation. And the younger the better. “In seven years, half of Canadians will be in the 18 to 34 demographics,” explained Laurence, “and VICE is the best at creating content for them”. With Shane Smith himself and experts like Spike Jonze working out of the studio, the young content creators will have the opportunity to work and learn from the best of the best.
Launched 20 years ago in Montreal as a free print magazine, VICE Media is certainly an endearing story as told by Smith. Going through years of highs and lows, today VICE is the leading global youth media and content creation company producing and distributing more high-quality online video for a youth audience than anyone else. With accolades like VICE News, the fastest-growing news channel on YouTube, an International network of online verticals/channels, a TV and film production studio for their HBO series, a print magazine, a book publishing division, and a record label, VICE is no joke on any scale… and the partnership with Rogers is sure to make a mark in Canada.
What are your thoughts on this Rogers X VICE collaboration? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.