How VICE Plans To Recapture Gen Y’s Attention
Long before there were any whispers of starting a cable network, the folks over at Vice Magazine made it their business to create edgy, informative documentaries, news stories and shorts that focused on popular culture items. While it became a beloved online website and popular Youtube channel, they soon set their eyes on bringing their core readership- millennials- back to television.
For years now, cable viewership by the twentysomething’s has been sharply declining. Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix have made it easier to forgo a monthly cable subscription by putting the most popular shows up online and even producing new award-winning content exclusive to their own platforms. Shows like Orange is the New Black and Transparent have broken down the barriers of what we thought web-based content could be. Online streaming services have brought this content out of the dark and created a brand new format that often allows producers and others on the artistic side of content creation to be more bold and daring with what they bring to viewers. By freeing themselves from the more conservative views of traditional advertisers, the shows brought to these platforms are innovative, wild and not afraid to fail.
While the intent is to bring a demographic that has long relied on the internet for edgy content back to a bigger and more profitable platform, the methodology has been questioned. By partnering with A&E, Vice launched VICELAND. The initial launch took place on November 3rd, 2015, and A&E reportedly struck a deal with Nielsen to leave ratings unreported. While reception has initially been frosty, Vice strongly believes in their content’s ability to build an audience. Recently they renewed five of their shows for a second season, avoiding what many believed would be a complete overhaul of content.
The fact is that no matter what content Vice is able to generate, they will be fighting a multitude of factors from the amount of online piracy that occurs to decreased cable viewership. While the intent is admirable, the task of bringing a generation back to a pricey medium with so much distraction in the marketplace will be an uphill battle, however, it is one that Vice and A&E are willing to fight for another season.