9 December 2014 Digital Media Musings Trends

Vice: A media company perfectly shaped for the future?

Forget the Royal visit; New York is still reeling from Friday night’s 20th birthday party for Vice Media, the punk magazine that has turned into a global multimedia corporation. Far from its grungy roots, Friday night’s event saw Lil Wayne, Ghostface Killah, Scarlett Johansson and the Black Lips taking to the stage; a multi-million dollar line up for a multi-billion dollar corporation. But Vice is also a media company that’s shaped itself for a digitally driven future. Vice claims that it reaches over 130 million mostly male, under 35s. Yet the brand is built on being niche, rebellious, alternative. How has something so special interest attracted such a broad and widespread audience?

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The answer has to be in the very fact that its channels are so diverse.  Vice has 10 websites, a news magazine show, a film production house, an advertising agency and a record label. There’s no better advertisement for a multi-channel approach. Vice has taken its edgy, streetwise values as the engine to each of its properties, from the futuristic science and tech world of Motherboard, to Fightland, homage to all things combative. Vice’s channels cleverly combine editorial with stills and video, social is everything and navigation is effortless. The user can literally spend hours lost in a multi-dimensional world that jumps from kosher kitchens in New York to the limits of outer space, all with that absolute Vice-like tone.

As a digital PR agency, we at Cherish spend hours each day reading, watching, understanding and adapting our stories for new digital media channels, but I haven’t yet seen a media company deliver quite what Vice has achieved. Many claim to have a multi-channel approach for their media brands but they still fall short. Perhaps it’s because they have lost their definitive voice trying to map themselves to new digital formats, or perhaps it was never there in the first place. Either way, they should take a look at Vice as the perfect case study in establishing a media company for new millennials who exist in the digital world.

It’s no surprise therefore that the “big boys” like Time Warner and WPP are sniffing around with rumours of offers in excess of $2bn. 2015 will be an interesting year for Vice but it’s also worth looking out for how other media companies adopt an altogether “sinful” digital brand strategy in 2015.

Check out Vice for yourself http://www.vice.com/en_uk/

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