As the one-time wild child Vice Media grows and ages, it’s expanding its online content operation and making inroads into mainstream TV and film. The latest move is a partnership with FremantleMedia to create a multi-channel food platform.

The youth media company, launched as a punk magazine in 1994, has also been bolstering its own production capabilities, which have previously been all about producing documentary content for its online channel, finding directing talent.

Vice recently hired Channel 4 documentary commissioner Lina Prestwood as executive producer and Max Gogarty as development producer, both reporting into head of video Al Brown.

In 2013 Vice saw broadcast success in the US with its HBO series, also called Vice, which has been recommissioned for a second series.

Vice has signed a deal with UK-based indie Pulse Films to co-produce US TV projects and, at the end of last year, it landed a commission from BBC Four to co-produce a documentary with Raw TV on the illicit online market for drugs and weapons.

The new food platform will see Vice and FremantleMedia develop and produce digital content, which FremantleMedia will take to TV around the world. It allows FremantleMedia to extend its production in the digital space and Vice gets to work with FremantleMedia’s network of experts in global television production and distribution.
"Today’s youth are the driving force behind the food culture explosion, yet they remain totally underserved when it comes to original food programming," says Andrew Creighton, president of Vice Media. “The new Vice food channel will upend the culinary media landscape, producing more jaw-droppingly entertaining original multi-channel food programming than anywhere else and ensuring the content reaches a global audience on every screen. We’re stoked to say the least."
Vice has already recorded strong viewership around its existing food programming, including such series as Munchies, featuring the industry’s leading chefs such as Danny Bowen, Michael White, and Anthony Bourdain, and Fresh Off The Boat, a look into culture-defining global food trends hosted by the restaurant owner and writer Eddie Huang.
The Vice food vertical will focus on subjects ranging from the politics of food, to world travel and cuisine, to an irreverent look at home cooking. Vice will collaborate with FremantleMedia North America’s original digital production team led by Gayle Gilman, as well as the FremantleMedia production teams around the world; the venture aims to deliver hundreds of hours of content in the first year.
The name and URL for the food venture will be announced in due course. Content from the venture will be available on multiple platforms, including alongside its other verticals Noisey (music), Motherboard (technology), The Creators Project (art), i-D (fashion), Thump (electronic dance), Fightland (MMA), and the forthcoming news vertical, VICE News.

Longer-term ambitions include experiential activities such as festivals and tastings; mobile extensions such as apps and a ‘food locator’ concierge service; social activity including full Facebook integration and UGC reviews and contributions; and licensed merchandise.
FremantleMedia launched its digital and branded entertainment division in 2013 to extend its role as a TV creator, producer and distributor onto emerging digital platforms. The company alerady consistently attracts 72 million+ unique users every month* and 7 billion views (2013) to its content on YouTube. It recently announced an investment in the multi-channel network Divimove and a co-production deal with fashion and lifestyle brand MCN StyleHaul.

Pippa Considine

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