The new food site will mark Vice's ninth vertical, once the
pending Vice News goes live in "a couple weeks," Mr. Creighton
said. Originated as a print magazine in 1994, Vice has created an
extensive property portfolio across traditional and digital media.
Vice's business spans the flagship Vice.com; music, tech, art,
fashion, dance and mixed martial arts sites; YouTube channels; an
HBO series; and
most recently a digital agency.
The food property is "a significant investment for both
companies," Mr. Creighton said, noting that 50 to 60 people will
staff the site. He declined to disclose the amount of each side's
investment but said the two will split revenue with 70% going to
Vice and 30% to FremantleMedia.
Much of that revenue will stem from advertising. Vice and
FremantleMedia expect to have a number of advertising deals signed
by the property's April launch. "We have some key brands that want
to come on board, but we can't announce those right now," Mr.
Vice will lead the property's ad sales efforts but will team
with Fremantle on "bigger brand partners." The site will run
standard fare like preroll videos and display ads. But the real
money will come from more bespoke ad products like new native ads
that Mr. Creighton said will roll out across Vice's properties as
well as show sponsorships that will be pitched during the MIPTV
showcase event in April and Vice's Digital Content NewFronts
presentation in May.
"Also we'll be creating an ad network, which is a content
distribution and advertising network with key sites that we want to
work with," Mr. Creighton said. "We've already acquired some of
those sites that we're going to be working with on the ad network
within the vertical."
Additionally Vice and FremantleMedia will develop content for
various national and international food festivals.
FremantleMedia will evaluate the digital content for TV
distribution in two ways. In some cases, it will take the videos as
they are and maybe make some tweaks before airing on TV networks
around the world. In others, the company will take a show or idea
created for the digital property and produce it separately for TV.
"We're certainly not waiting [to strike TV distribution deals]. We
have some strong ideas that could quickly end up on TV," said Keith
Hindle, CEO of FremantleMedia's digital and branded entertainment
division, which was created last year.
While both Vice and FremantleMedia have relationships with 21st
Century Fox --
the entertainment conglomerate has invested in Vice and airs
Fremantle-produced "American Idol" -- the food-site partnership did
not spring from the mutual relationship.
"I got drunk at a Vice upfront [presentation] two to three years
ago -- everyone gets drunk at a Vice upfront -- and Andrew was on
stage presenting to a large volume of advertisers. It was the first
time I saw someone in digital media speak so eloquently to a room
of advertisers," Mr. Hindle said.
Over the last two years, the companies sought ways to work
together and agreed on food. Vice isn't entirely new to
food-related content. The "food" section of Vice.com is the site's
third-largest traffic destination, Mr. Creighton said. And Vice's
online series "Munchies" has been streaming videos of famous chefs
like Anthony Bourdain pigging out for three years.
Vice decided to spin food off into its own channel because "no
one is really looking at why the food explosion happened [among
Vice's primary audience of 18- to 32-year-olds]. I think there's a
gaping hole that needs to be filled with programming for this
audience," Mr. Creighton said.