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Vice nets $450m for scripted, OTT

Youth-skewing media firm Vice has raised US$450m in private equity funding and plans to launch a global scripted studio and an OTT service.

Shane Smith

The deal with investor TPG means Vice is valued at around US$5.7bn and will see the firm, fronted by Shane Smith, build its activities in scripted programming and develop new streaming offerings.

Vice Studios will produce scripted shows for digital and linear distribution, with the move marking an expansion on the company’s current output that focuses largely on documentary, current affairs and unscripted.

Vice, which counts Disney, 21st Century Fox and A+E Networks amongst its shareholders, has not disclosed the size of TPG’s stake but Smith said the company would also be looking to expand its digital offerings, which already include channels.

The company also produces programming for US premium cablenet HBO and last year launched Viceland, a global linear network.

Having debuted in the US and Canada, the 24-hour TV channel was then rolled out internationally, featuring a slate of original shows created entirely in-house by Vice. These include docuseries Jungletown, talkshow Desus & Mero and Huang’s World, which features chef, restaurateur and writer Eddie Huang.

Earlier this month it began commissioning third-party content in the UK and has experimented with scripted programming, including James van der Beek-starring satire What Would Diplo Do? and a number of other comedies. Viceland UK will soon add a latenight anime block as well.

Vice Media has also partnered with fledgling shortform scripted service Blackpills, after last year acquired a stake in UK- and US-based producer Pulse Films.

TPG’s investment comes 18 months after Vice’s last funding round, which saw Disney take a 10% stake in the youth-focused firm in a deal that then valued the firm at around US$4bn.

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