VICE Media and Econet Media announced on Monday 16 October 2017 that the companies have partnered in an expansive new joint venture to fully launch VICE into Sub-Saharan Africa. Titled ‘Kwesé VICE’, the partnership will see VICE and Econet open a new bureau and production studio headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a focus on the development, production and distribution of local editorial content and original video programming both for Kwesé VICE’s channels and third-party platforms.
Econet Media owns Pan-African broadcast network Kwesé – a multi-platform offering with specific products targeted at Africa’s emerging millennial market segment. This deal is an extension of the existing relationship between these two companies. Kwesé TV is the home of VICELAND in Sub-Saharan Africa, which launched earlier this year as part of its diversified content offering for younger audiences across the continent.
Marrying VICE’s, youth-focused content capabilities with Kwesé’s platform output and local knowledge, ‘Kwesé VICE’ will focus on the creation and development of original local editorial and video content to be distributed across television, digital and commercial platforms. The venture will launch in 2018.
The partnership will extend Vice’s on-going content agreement with Kwesé TV, set to exclusively distribute VICELAND in South Africa, as part of its continued roll-out across 45 African countries.
Building a team of local creatives out of its headquarters in Johannesburg, and with satellite offices in Nairobi and Lagos, Kwesé VICE will open a local production studio, hire the best young creatives, journalists and filmmakers locally, and air tailored lifestyle and culture programming across linear and digital platforms around-the-clock for the young audience in Africa.
By partnering with Econet Media, which is part of the diversified telecommunications and media conglomerate Econet Group, home to some of Africa’s most celebrated brands, VICE immediately gains access to unparalleled knowledge of the local market, with ‘Kwesé VICE’ established to meet the demands of Africa’s increasingly connected audiences and burgeoning youth market.
Matt Elek, Chief Executive Officer, VICE Media, EMEA commented, “Continuing to build on what’s been a flourishing partnership with Econet over the past year, we’re excited to be fully launching VICE across the region. Pairing Econet’s extensive local knowledge and innovative distribution with VICE’s creative powerhouse and storytelling expertise, we’re committed to delivering a fresh new voice for Africa’s diverse youth audiences.”
Since inception, Econet Media has distinguished its Kwese offering across the continent with its content and partnerships with best-of-breed brands. The collaboration with VICE aligns perfectly with Kwesé’s proposition and its stated strategic intent to establish Africa’s leading media business.
“We’ve announced a number of landmark partnerships for the continent and this venture is particularly exciting as it adds to our offering for the youth demographic across the continent. VICE is an important strategic partner for us in building an innovative, future-focused media business for Africa” said Joseph Hundah President & Group CEO of Econet Media.
In addition to its editorial and content divisions, ‘Kwesé VICE’ will also house the multi-award winning creative agency born out of VICE, Virtue Worldwide. Virtue Worldwide will develop unique branded content specifically for the local African market, drawing on Kwesé’s intimate knowledge of what is driving content trends in Africa and combining this with VICE’s extensive relationships with advertisers and its innovative approach to creating branded content that seamlessly weaves content, audiences and brands across multiple platforms.
The partnership comes in the midst of a global expansion for VICE, which continues to grow through the launch of multi-platform partnerships and localised content collaborations with leading media and mobile providers around the world. This year, VICE has unveiled major global deals spanning Brazil (Globosat), The Middle East (Moby Group), and India (Times of India), as the youth brand accelerates and diversifies its content offering across mobile, linear and digital platforms.