Viceland logo (2016–2018)
|Launched||September 7, 2001|
|Closed||March 31, 2018|
|Formerly called||The Biography Channel Canada (2001–2016)|
Viceland was a Canadian English language Category A specialty channel. It was owned by Vice Network Canada, Inc., which was owned by Rogers Media with minority ownership by Vice Media. It was a Canadian version of Viceland, broadcasting lifestyle-oriented documentary and reality series aimed towards a young adult demographic.
The network was originally established as a Canadian version of the U.S. network The Biography Channel, as a joint venture between Rogers, Shaw Communications, and A&E Networks. Shaw and A&E later sold their shares to Rogers. As part of a larger licensing agreement with A&E Networks, Shaw launched a Canadian version of Biography Channel's successor in the U.S., FYI, in 2014.
On November 5, 2015, Rogers announced that it had partnered with Vice to be the Canadian launch partner for its new television brand Viceland, which replaced H2 in the U.S. as part of a similar joint venture with A&E. Vice Media acquired a 30% minority stake in the Canadian network. After low viewership and profitability, Rogers and Vice announced the termination of the partnership, and the complete shutdown of the channel effective April 1, 2018.
In August 2018, Vice signed a new content deal with Bell Media to relaunch Vice-branded content in Canada. The deal will not see the relaunch of a dedicated Viceland channel, but will instead see Vice content air on various Bell-owned properties including Much, HBO Canada and CraveTV.
As The Biography Channel
Licensed as The Biography Channel by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on November 24, 2000; the channel was launched on September 7, 2001 as a joint venture between Rogers Media (33.34%), Shaw Communications (33.33%) and A&E Networks (33.33%)—who owned the network's American counterpart. In 2006, both Shaw and A&E sold their interests in the channel to Rogers. The U.S. Biography Channel relaunched as FYI on July 7, 2014; Shaw's Twist TV became a Canadian version of FYI on September 1, 2014.
On November 5, 2015, Rogers announced that it would serve as the Canadian partner for Viceland, a new millennial-focused channel programmed by Vice Media, and that Viceland would replace Biography Channel. Vice Media had partnered with A&E Networks (who owns 10% of the company) to launch Viceland in the U.S. as a replacement for H2.
Rogers and Vice Media had already begun to collaborate in October 2014, when Vice announced a CDN$100 million joint venture with Rogers to build a studio in Toronto's Liberty Village neighbourhood for producing original content. Rogers also announced an intent to launch Vice-branded television and digital properties in Canada in 2015. Rogers CEO Guy Laurence described the proposed studio as "a powerhouse for Canadian digital content focused on 18- to 34-year-olds" which would be "exciting" and "provocative". In 2015, Rogers-owned television network City introduced Vice on City—an anthology series featuring short-form content produced by Vice's Canadian reporters. Vice Media was originally established in Montreal, but had moved to New York City due to difficulties in reaching a sufficient scale in Canada at the time. The company believed that Rogers' investment in Vice helped to better achieve these goals.
Pre-launch programming for Viceland began at 5:00 a.m. ET on February 29, 2016 with Bar Talk, an hour-long special featuring Vice Canada's head of content Patrick McGuire, followed by a countdown to the official launch later in the day.
In November 2017, The Globe and Mail reported that Rogers intended to cease providing funding to Viceland in early 2018, citing inside reports of low viewership and unprofitability. Representatives of both companies to declined to comment. On January 22, 2018, Rogers and Vice jointly announced a termination of their partnership. The channel shut down on March 31, 2018, and its licence was revoked by request of Vice Network Canada on April 1. Vice will inherit complete ownership of the Toronto studio.
Vice co-founder Suroosh Alvi stated that Viceland would view its Canadian productions as being of global interest, as opposed to a regulatory obligation of little interest of non-Canadians; one-third of the network's first slate of original programming was produced in Canada, including Cyberwar and Dead Set on Life. Rogers also contributed original programming, such as the scripted comedies Nirvanna the Band the Show and Fubar Age of Computer.
- "Bell Media signs new long-term broadcast agreement with Vice Media". Financial Post, August 16, 2018.
- Decision CRTC 2000-460 CRTC 2000-12-14
- "Shaw Media and A&E to Launch Two New Specialty Channels". Broadcaster Magazine. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "Vice Media to Launch Cable TV Channel in Canada". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "Viceland content will be made in Canada, for a global audience". Canadian Business. Rogers Media. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "It's Official: Vice Channel to Take Over A+E Networks' History Spinoff H2". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "Viceland, a New Cable Channel, Aims to Stand Out". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "A+E Networks' H2 To Be Rebranded As Vice". Deadline. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "Rogers, Vice Media strike $100M deal to create Canadian content". CBC News. October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
- "Rogers, Vice Media to partner on $100-million venture". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
- "Best of VICE Canada Debuts Tonight on City". Vice.com. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
- "This Land is Your Land, This Land is VICELAND: New Specialty Channel Launches with Distinctive Slate of Programming, Feb. 29". Rogers Media. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- "How a little magazine called VICE conquered the media world: Welcome to Viceland". Montreal Gazette. Postmedia. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "Viceland Makes Its Cable Debut". Multichannel News. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "Rogers to cut off support for Viceland TV station". The Globe and Mail. November 29, 2017. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
- Vlessing, Etan (January 22, 2018). "Viceland to Go Off the Air on Canada's Rogers Communications". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "VICELAND – Revocation of licence". CRTC. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
- White, Peter (2018-08-16). "Vice Is Back In Business In Canada After Striking Long-Term Deal With Bell Media". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-08-16.