We should’ve known that VICE was too niche to make the profits that Rogers is used to soaking in from its media properties. As of March 31st TV channel VICELAND will go off-air with Rogers giving up its interest in Vice Studio Canada ending their three-year-old partnership. The company says it is evolving its Canadian content strategy and will redirect future funding towards projects that ‘better align’ with Rogers’ portfolio and brands. AKA. Vice is just too, well, hip. It’s hard to sell VICE next to Chatelaine magazine or CHFI “best music mix” radio in Toronto. Heck even finding a co-relation between Sportsnet (another massive Rogers owned property) and VICE is hard. It was on it’s own little island in the Rogers ocean, they’re not wrong, but once again it feels like Rogers pulling the plug too soon on something with so much potential.
Remember the short lived Rogers TV streaming service ‘SHOMi’ ? it launched around the same time as CRAVE TV (owned by Bell) and was supposed to be competitive with Netflix. Which it was, offering hit series like Peaky Blinders, Fargo and (gulp) Louis. It lasted from November 2014 to November 2016. The discontinuation after just two years was criticized by CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais who said that he “can’t help but be surprised when major players throw in the towel on a platform that is the future of content — just two years after it launched. I have to wonder if they are too used to receiving rents from subscribers every month in a protected ecosystem, rather than rolling up their sleeves in order to build a business without regulatory intervention and protection”
Personally I hate to agree with anybody at the CRTC but he’s right. Rogers has consistently demonstrated shrewd business practices, aka it expects a certain dollar value from it’s properties and won’t compromise. Something isn’t making money? it’s gotta go. I guess that’s business and surely anybody who’s watched VICELAND at nauseam noticed it has a very small rotation of commercial advertisers. How long can you run in the red?
Still, there is roughly 130 hours of original Canadian programming that’s been developed and Vice Canada says it now has full ownership of that library and plans to build business around it. Vice Canada President Ryan Archibald says that unspecified new partnerships will be announced soon! which is good because I’m dead set on life.
Cover Photo Credt: YouTube/Viceland