May 9, 2024 - Business

Exclusive: Vice Media partners with Savage Ventures to relaunch digital brands

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Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Vice Media said Thursday it will create a joint venture with Nashville-based Savage Ventures to relaunch its digital properties, including Vice.com, Munchies, Motherboard, and Noisey.

Why it matters: The deal will see Savage Ventures investing "tens of millions of dollars" into the joint venture, a Vice spokesperson said.

Catch up quick: The investment marks the first effort by Vice Media to substantially re-invest in its digital brands following a bankruptcy buyout last year that saw the elimination of hundreds of roles, consolidation of departments and cancellation of news shows.

  • Savage Ventures was one of the entities that looked to buy Vice out of bankruptcy last year.

Zoom in: The new partnership gives Vice Media branding control over its digital assets without having to manage them day-to-day.

  • That structure will allow Vice Media to focus more on its B2B franchises, such as Vice Studios Group, Vice TV, and its advertising agency Virtue.
  • The joint venture will also relaunch Vice's social media channels. The combined portfolio, the firms said, "has nearly 100 million followers across all platforms.

Yes, but: The deal does not include the digital assets of Vice News.

  • In a statement, the company said it will continue to have strategic discussions with "leading global news organizations" to amplify the company's long-form news and documentary content.

Between the lines: Savage Ventures manages a slew of digital-first brands including outdoors.com, 247health.com and americansongwriter.com.

  • In partnering with Savage, Vice Media executives see an opportunity to boost its brands exposure to companies that Savage manages across lifestyle, sports, wellness and music.
  • "This structure allows us to leverage Savage's leading expertise and furthers our vision to produce compelling original content that entertains while pushing boundaries," Vice Media CEO Bruce Dixon said in a statement.

The big picture: The joint venture marks a shift in Vice Media's strategy to focus more on licensing content to other businesses, rather than monetizing content through advertising.

  • Vice has pushed to streamline its consumer-facing brand portfolio as a part of that transition.
  • It sold its style publication i-D magazine to model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss in February, and sold female-focused lifestyle publication Refinery29 to Essence Magazine parent Sundial Media Group last month.
  • In a statement, Vice Media said the creation of the joint venture, in addition to the sale of those properties, are "key milestones" as the company accelerates its path to profitability.
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