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Fremantle, Vice feast on Munchies

MIPTV: Vice Media and FremantleMedia launched a joint-venture food-themed online channel here in Cannes today, two months after announcing they were getting together.

Action Bronson

Action Bronson

Munchies promises to “provide an antidote to the mounds of tired, anachronistic celebrity chef and cook-off shows that simply do not engage millennial audiences.”

The collaboration was first unveiled in February, with a hint of the programming to come mooted at the time, drawing on previous Vice food-focused shows.

But today at MipTV, Vice and FremantleMedia hit the button on Munchies –  an online destination available via the former’s own site and through YouTube, where both have been significantly stepping up their presence over the past couple of years.

“It’s increasingly hard for us and anybody else to launch new content and series on television that attracts a younger demographic,” said FremantleMedia’s CEO of digital and branded entertainment, Keith Hindle.

“Vice has been very successful at attracting that young demo, so we see a real potential here in being able to create new franchises that appeal to youth in a way that we can’t successfully on TV.”

Munchies has gone live with five titles: Being Frank, Munchies: Chef’s Night Out, Fresh Off The Boat, Girl Eats Food and F*ck, That’s Delicious, featuring chef-turned-rapper Action Bronson.

The plan is for Fremantle to take this mix of shortform, half-hour and longer programming and package it for TV distribution around the world, while retaining the Vice sensibility for edgy, international, youth culture-oriented media. The shows are as much about the characters and their lifestyles as they are about their associations with food.

“Ten years ago something happened to food culture. All the cool kids with tattoos would have been in bands, now they want to cook to be cool, and that’s a huge shift,” said Vice chief creative officer Eddy Moretti.

“There really is a passion for food culture but no one is capturing it, and that’s what our job is – to bottle up these big personalities and bring them to you.”

Moretti said that the traditional TV industry hadn’t moved quickly enough to reflect this cultural shift.

“TV missed the boat on this kind of content because they didn’t turn over their development machinery to these kids, and if you see the kids that make all of this content they look like Action Bronson,” he said. “It’s simple: you’re going to get the television that your development executives think is great and there’s a changing of the guard right there.”

Vice founder and CEO Shane Smith added: “That’s the reason why young people are leaving TV, because they don’t do things like this. They don’t take chances, they don’t switch things up, they don’t give cameras to 24-year-old kids and that’s what’s going to be exciting about this. We know it’s going to work well online and we think it’s going to work well on TV.”

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