Vice Media teams up with Canada's Rogers to build Toronto studio
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO Oct 30 (Reuters) - Vice Media, a maker of edgy videos popular with younger viewers, has teamed up with Rogers Communications Inc to build a studio in Toronto to produce news, documentaries and other content with Canadian filmmakers.
The C$100 million ($89.43 million) deal announced by the companies on Thursday includes plans for a Vice TV network across Canada. The studio is due to launch some time next year.
Rogers, one of Canada's biggest cable and wireless phone providers, hopes the deal will help it better connect with 18- to 35-year-olds, who are much more likely to consume media online or on mobile devices.
Vice's counter-culture content and news coverage has struck a chord with young people across magazines, online video, television and movies. It recently showed an on-the-ground reporting series from within Islamic State territory in Syria.
"We're going to shake up Canada with exciting, provocative content and we'll export it around the world," Rogers Chief Executive Guy Laurence said in a statement.
For Vice, which began as a Montreal punk magazine in 1994 but is now based in New York, the deal is further proof its maverick approach can attract deep-pocketed investors and partners. Last month it secured $500 million in fundraising which valued the group at more than $2.5 billion.
"This year we return to the homeland, all our hard lessons learned, to build from scratch a completely horizontally and vertically integrated ultra-modern media entity," Vice founder and CEO Shane Smith said in the statement.
The Vice Canada studio will be run under Vice's creative direction, producing bite-sized content adapted for mobile devices as well as longer-form news, drama and documentary programming.
Wireless customers of Rogers and its cheaper brand Fido can also expect some exclusive content, the companies said.
(1 US dollar = 1.1182 Canadian dollar) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Richard Chang)
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