Vice launches in Indonesia, blames ‘measurement issues’ for poor debut in the UK

Vice, the media company known for edgy content for millennials, is launching its brand in Indonesia after rocky TV debuts in the UK and the US.


The brand launches in Southeast Asia’s most populous country on the back of the statistic that 18-34 year-olds comprise half of Indonesia, and already has a team of 20 in place.

Vice is launching into one of the region’s most sensitive markets for content through a partnership with Jawa Pos TV, and has struck a digital deal with Google to “bring Indonesian nightlife and culture content to the rest of the world.”

The company is to produce local content and offer creative agency services. Vice Indonesia is to be run by Mo Morris as MD, with Ardyan M Erlangga as managing editor.

“We think it’s going to be a robust business for us,” James Schwab, co-president of Vice Media said at the CASBAA Convention in Macau this morning.

Schwab was asked how Vice will manage censorship obstacles in Indonesia.

“We comply with the law wherever we go,” he responded.

CASBAA CEO Christopher Slaughter interviews James Schwab of Vice this morning

CASBAA CEO Christopher Slaughter (right) interviews James Schwab of Vice this morning

In its debut fortnight of airing on Sky in the UK recently, Viceland regularly registered a zero rating. Schwab was asked why Viceland would fare any better in Indonesia, where the brand is less well known.

He responded that there were “measurement issues” in the UK, and Vice had not been listed on the electronic programme guide. “The numbers are trending up nicely now in the UK,” he said.

James Schwab at CASBAA

Viceland also had a disappointing debut in the US, although the brand has succeeded in bringing down the average viewer age of the channel it replaced, A+E’s H2. One of Vice’s aims has been to bring millennials back to television.

“For us, edgy and cool are synonymous with small and niche, and we don’t aspire to that,” he later said.

“We’ve won Emmy Awards, Cannes Lions, at the Venice Film Festival, and we get interviews with President Obama.”

“We don’t create articles just to drive traffic. They content has got to be good,” he said.


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