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Vice, Rogers launch $100m JV studio

Youth-skewing multimedia outfit Vice is partnering with Canadian broadcast giant Rogers Communications to launch a studio that will produce for TV, web and mobile.

The C$100m (US$89.5m) joint venture will produce Canadian news and entertainment programming from next year, working with the next generation of young directors, filmmakers, journalists and producers in the territory.

The studio, based in Toronto, represents a return ‘home’ for Vice Media, which started as a magazine in Montreal back in 1994 before developing into a global multimedia business, attracting investment from 21st Century Fox, A+E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures.

It will produce Canadian-focused news, drama, documentaries and programming covering food, sports, fashion, and tech for all screens. The move includes a Vice TV Network, a dedicated TV channel distributed throughout the country airing a variety of original formats from Canadian talent.

Vice will lead the creative direction of the joint venture, which aims to export its content globally once it has aired in Canada.

A statement from the companies said the Vice Canada Studio will address a “dramatic shift in Canada’s media landscape which sees young people increasingly consuming news and entertainment from their mobile and digital devices.”

Guy Laurence, Rogers president and CEO, said: “We wanted to build a powerhouse for Canadian digital content focused on 18 to 34 year-olds. Vice was the obvious choice to partner with.

“They started in Canada but then moved to New York to prove they could build a global media company, which they’ve done. However, they’ve never forgotten their Canadian roots and have always wanted to open a Canadian production studio.

“We’re going to shake up Canada with exciting, provocative content and we’ll export it around the world.”

Vice founder Shane Smith said: “We’ll build something truly special, deeply innovative and dedicated to the youth of this country. Rogers and Vice will programme the content created out of our studio on their mobile platforms, online outlets and television properties.”

He added that the idea would not only put the JV “at the forefront of tech/media space in Canada but we believe our bold experiment will be followed by media and tech companies around the world.”

Vice already produces its own-branded show for HBO in the US and has content partnerships with FremantleMedia as well as Greek broadcaster Antenna Group, through which it’s expanding in Europe.

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