Rogers Media cuts ties with Vice Canada, pulls Viceland TV channel off the air

Boundary-pushing TV channel Viceland is slated to cease broadcasting as of March 31, as Rogers Media Inc. and Vice Canada end their three-year-old, $100-million partnership.

Rogers said in a statement on Monday it is evolving its Canadian content strategy and will redirect future funding to initiatives that “better align” with its portfolio and brands.

“In this crowded content universe and as audience habits change, we continue to evolve our strategy to deliver unique content to Canadians,” it said.

Rogers said it is also giving up its interest in Vice Studio Canada, established by the partners in Toronto through their 2014 agreement to generate Canadian content for mobiles, tablets, computers and TV screens that appeals to young people.

Ryan Archibald, president of Vice Canada, confirmed the partnership’s end in a separate statement Monday and said that keeping Viceland alive is a priority.

“Vice will continue to grow in Canada in 2018. We have a lot of opportunity ahead of us and will be announcing some new exciting partnerships soon,” he said, without giving specifics.

“Rogers Media’s initial investment helped to establish our studio as a leading producer of some of the most engaging Canadian content out there and we thank them for their partnership.”

Neither Rogers nor Vice would consent to interviews with executives. Rogers spokeswoman Andrea Goldstein said in an email her company alone had spent $100 million through the joint venture on creation of Canadian content, the studio and the TV channel.

Carmi Levy, a London, Ont.-based media analyst, said Rogers is likely the partner that decided to pull the plug.

“When you engage in a partnership of this type, I think both sides, and especially a telecom of the scale of Rogers, would expect some kind of return,” he said.

“Here you are just over three years into the deal and obviously the returns aren’t where they’d like them to be.”

He said it’s difficult to tell what Vice’s viewership was because those numbers haven’t been separately disclosed.

Vice Canada said the Rogers joint venture resulted in over 130 hours of original Canadian programming.

It says it now has full ownership of the content library and the Toronto studio after Rogers gave up its 30 per cent stake. It said it plans to continue to build that business.

The 24-hour-a-day Viceland television channel launched in February 2016 with prime-time shows including Gaycation with Ellen Page and Black Market with Michael K. Williams.

It is currently available on all major cable or satellite companies in Canada.

The end of the Rogers-Vice partnership comes as competitors Netflix and Amazon Prime are investing heavily in original programming.

Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.

Just Posted

WATCH: Hundreds come to Red Deer Rebels Fan Fest

The Red Deer Rebels met with hundreds of fans just a couple… Continue reading

Red Deer GoodLife no longer installing pool

Red Deer GoodLife Fitness members itching to swim will need to find… Continue reading

Hwy 2 detour Friday

Traffic detoured between Gaetz Avenue and Taylor Drive

Red Deer students are fighting subtle discrimination to help build a culture of tolerance

‘Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination’ marked at local high school

WATCH: Red Deerians can have a say about crime fighting

Municipality will poll citizens about policing priorities

Facebook crisis-management lesson: What not to do

NEW YORK — The crisis-management playbook is pretty simple: Get ahead of… Continue reading

Calgary remains interested in 2026 bid, but awaits word from feds, province

Calgary city council approved a slate of moves towards a possible bid… Continue reading

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to girl, 14, in Canada, police say

American authorities say a 14-year-old girl in Canada has been charged with… Continue reading

Comedian Mike MacDonald remembered for gut-busting mental health advocacy

If laughter is the best medicine, then standup veteran Mike MacDonald was… Continue reading

The Weeknd, Bruno Mars to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago

CHICAGO — The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys will… Continue reading

No rest for the retired: Opioid crisis fills empty nests as grandparents step up

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — She is a Newfoundland woman who worked hard… Continue reading

Duclos defends gender-neutral language amid criticism from opposition

MONTREAL — Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos defended Service Canada’s decision to ask… Continue reading

Lawyer and negotiator: Thomas Molloy is new Saskatchewan lieutenant-governor

REGINA — Lawyer and negotiator Thomas Molloy has been sworn in as… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month