Vice plans scripted push after $450m investment

Shane-Smith-140x140North American millennial content giant Vice Media has received US$450 million from investment firm TPG, and plans to use the funds in part to push into scripted programming.

Vice CEO Shane Smith told CNBC to deal values Vice at $5.7 billion.

Part of the investment will go on establishing Vice Studios, which will produce “scripted multi-screen programming”.

This makes Vice the latest US content company to enter the increasingly crowded scripted market, and comes after the company launched its linear channel, Viceland, last year.

Smith also said the cash would be used to “build up the largest millennial video library in the world” that would include news, food, music fashion, travel, gaming, lifestyle, scripted and feature films.

Smith also indicated the library would then be used for direct-to-consumer offers – “all of which represent the future of media,” he said.

“Media is probably at its most dynamic, most evolutionary time in its history,” said Smith. “With Facebook and Google taking an ever-growing piece of the online advertising pie, looming ‘skinny bundles’ and OTT/D2C offerings exploding the media status quo – networks have to be nimble, smart and fast moving.”

At the Edinburgh International Television Festival last year, Smith predicted a “bloodbath” of M&A activity around the major global media players.

However, some of those companies, namely 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiary A+E Networks, are Vice shareholders, and are now joined by TPG, meanwhile, becomes Vice’s latest shareholder, joining the likes of TPG is majority owner of LA-based talent agency CAA and owns a stake in STX Entertainment.

In related news, Viceland UK has acquired five Japanese-language toons from distributor Anime Ltd.

These are Sui Ashida’s Tokyo Ghoul and follow-up Tokyo Ghoul Root A, Eureka Seven, Cowboy bebop and Samurai Champloo.

They will be dubbed into English and comprise a daily midnight / 12am slot from July 17.