The universe is constantly expanding, and so is Vice Media. After recent investments from Technology Crossover Ventures and A&E Networks, worth a combined $500 million, the upstart news and culture site is flush with cash. "In an interview with International Business Times at the Adweek Brand Genius Gala, CEO Shane Smith said Vice will continue to expand -- and advised that it might be a good idea to polish up the resume.
Asked what he planned to do with the $500 million burning a hole in his pocket, Smith appeared to be pleased with his options.
"The good thing about it is there is no pressure. We did the deal so that we would have complete autonomy. The problem with doing a deal with most majors is they want to buy you straight up," Smith said.
Time Warner was previously in talks with Vice Media but dropped out. "Well, they wanted too much control. So, we got a deal that allowed us complete autonomy and I own 95 percent of the board. It gives us the war chest to go forward to do exactly what we want to do. It was kind of ‘have your cake and eat it too.’ We’re extremely happy and we have a couple of years where you’re going to be reading a lot about what we’re doing with that money," Smith said.
Smith avoided answering questions about specific plans but focused on the potential growth in the mobile world. He was clear that television, and its rich resources, remains a prime target for Vice expansion. "I think you’re going to see a lot of deals about to be announced in the mobile sphere and we’re also going to keep growing in digital. I’ve made no secret about it, we will be launching a lot more TV in the future because we believe going forward to be platform-agnostic. Obviously our biggest growth is in mobile, but there’s still 75 percent of the world’s advertising in TV," Smith said.
As for the recent feud between Gawker and Vice, Smith said he is going to stay positive, citing Buzzfeed's example of shunning negative articles. "Gawker [is] good at what they do and they should keep doing it. We’re good at what we do and we’ll keep doing that. What we’re doing now is creating content and creating IP [intellectual property] and we’re trying to get better. I think there are so many problems in the world today, we have to figure out how to fix them rather than point fingers at each other," Smith said.
He added, "we’re going to be hiring a lot of people. If anybody wants a job they should apply at Vice."