10 Provocative Business Pronouncements From Vice CEO Shane Smith [Language Warning!]

'We're the Same as Time Warner'

By Published on .

Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith.
Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith. Credit: Christopher Lane for Ad Age

Vice has clammed up since Sky News first reported Monday that the media company was in talks with Time Warner. But over the years Vice CEO and co-founder Shane Smith has made a number of attention-grabbing statements about his company, his competitors, advertising and the media landscape.

Here are 10 of his most provocative statements previous to all this, in no particular order, for the corporate suite at Time Warner to savor:

1. "We're the same as Time Warner. We're the same as Bertelsmann or Viacom. We're just younger and weirder. Look, every generation has a changing of the guard in media. We do the same stuff that everybody else does, but we just do it differently. We do our content online differently. We do our magazines differently. We do our TV differently. We never had anyone tell us how to do magazines, so we just developed it in a different way. We didn't have anyone who knew about TV -- except for [Spike Jonze] -- so we just developed it in a different way. But if anyone asks me what we are, we're a media company." (Interview)

2. "If you want to look at 90% of our profits and all the growth of the company, and why Time Warner's talking to us, and why Google's talking to us -- why anybody's talking to us -- it's because of online video." (The Guardian)

3. "We'd be stupid not to test what the market would bear [in terms of an IPO]. There's a lot of money sloshing around in the system. Obviously, valuations are high." (Bloomberg Businessweek)

4. "I know it sounds crazy, but let's say, hypothetically, you become the default source for news on YouTube. You get billions of video views, WPP monetizes it. Then you are the next CNN." (The New Yorker)

5. "Gawker is a bunch of bitches … they have a bone in their ass about Vice." (The Guardian)

6. "Does North Face tell us where to go? Do they pick our hosts? Do they fucking pick the story? No. We're gonna make that fucking story. Do we wear some North Face shit? Sometimes." (The Guardian)

7. "That's the plan [to generate a billion dollars in revenue over the next] 12 to 18 months." (Bloomberg TV)

8. "Part of the reason Vice is successful is because we have cash to make stuff. Everyone else is just fucking wandering around trying to find budgets to make their dream project." (The New Yorker)

9. "It's our time now." (The New York Times Magazine)

10. NewFronts crowds are "literally the craziest fucking audience in the world." (Ad Age)

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