Sky sets Viceland UK launch, invests in Asian SVOD

The UK pay-TV broadcaster has secured a partnership with Vice Media to launch linear specialty TV channel Viceland in the UK and Ireland this September, and has invested US$45 million in Asian SVOD service iflix.
March 9, 2016

UK pay-TV broadcaster Sky has secured a partnership with youth media company Vice Media to launch linear TV channel Viceland in the UK and Ireland this September.

Sky will launch the 24-hour linear specialty channel across its basic television subscription package, as well as through the broadcaster’s VOD platform Sky Go and its digital streaming service Now TV. As with its other channels in North America, Viceland content will be programmed, developed and produced by Vice’s in-house creative team.

Under the deal, Sky and Now TV subscribers will receive exclusive on demand access to the first episode of a Viceland series 24 hours ahead of its live airing, while subsequent episodes will be available immediately following their airing.

Sky Q customers, meanwhile, will be able to view video content from Vice, Vice News, Motherboard and Munchies through the set-top box’s digital video section, which will roll out in the coming weeks.

Viceland first launched across the U.S. and Canada in February. The channel currently airs a raft of factual series, some of which have made their debut across Vice’s suite of online channels, including culinary series F***, That’s Delicious; investigative series Weediquette; LGBT travelogue Gaycation; and music-focused series Noisey.

The channel aims to slot “engaging, original content across the worlds of culture, food, sex, fashion, music, sports, and much more.”

Viceland is overseen by Oscar-winning director and long-time Vice partner Spike Jonze and chief content officer Eddy Moretti, who serve as co-presidents of the new 24-hour lifestyle and entertainment channel from Vice and A+E Networks.

“For us at Vice, this is just the latest top-level partnership to establish the Vice presence on all screens, at all times, in all places,” said Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith in a statement. “And as our reach grows, we’re pushing our own limits and committing to telling the world’s most compelling stories in new and ever better ways.

“And partnering with Sky gives us their deep expertise in the market, and the ability to reach over 10 million households across the UK and Ireland,” he continued.

Elsewhere, the UK satcaster has invested US$45 million in iflix, a leading SVOD service across Southeast Asia.

The agreement will see the two networks working to extend into the high-growth emerging markets across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the coming months.

Since launching in May 2015, iflix has secured more than one million subscribers across Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The multi-platform SVOD service provides a catalog consisting of 11,000 hours of Hollywood and Asian regional and local content.

Sky’s investment in iflix includes the purchase of $2.5 million of shares from existing investors.

“iflix has quickly established itself as Southeast Asia’s most exciting and fastest-growing streaming TV service,” said Andrew Griffith, Group CFO at Sky, in a statement. “There are lots of opportunities for Sky and iflix to work together and share expertise as both companies continue to expand.”

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.