To undertake the kind of growth that Vice would like — adding to its news and sports divisions and building large-scale operations in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil — it needed more capital than it was generating on its own. The company has not disclosed the exact size of the investment from its new partners but has put the sum in the high eight figures.


Vice Media has formed an investment partnership with Viacom CEO Tom Freston.

This bit of news actually does wonders for my career anxiety. 

There have been times when I though VICE was actually trying to get put out of business - or sued by the entire planet - but as it turns out…telling corporations to fuck off just makes them want you more.  Congratulations are definitely in order for Shane Smith.

“People often say that a bad event is a ‘blessing in disguise.’ Trust me, experience will teach you that some are unbelievably well disguised. Everyone gets fired, or decides to make a radical change at some point. Everyone suffers setbacks.”

Tom Freston
Tom Freston, Runaway Mogul

Tom Freston spent 26 years pushing the likes of ‘Beavis and Butt-Head,’ 'Yo! MTV Raps,’ and 'South Park.’ Then he did something really cool: He got fired, and instead of finding another gilded media perch, he took charge of Bono’s nonprofit and resumed his lifelong globe-trotting – hooking up American conservatives with reformed warlords in Liberia and helping to bring his favorite medium to the Afghan masses.

A Liberian road trip with the creator of MTV, Ralph Reed, and a reformed cannibal named General Butt Naked.  You’re not going to believe that this is a true story.

Writing about Tom Freston earlier has got me reflecting on the great boss we both had who brought us up in the early days of the cable TV business.

An old bio (or Wikipedia entry) of Bob Pittman can fill you in on his media life before he became the key force behind the explosive growth at AOL and as vice chairman of AOL Time Warner. But for me and Tom, MTVN CEO Judy McGrath, and a whole bunch of others, Bob was the inspiration that made us work like hell to build, launch, and grow (like weeds) MTV, Nickelodeon, and Nick-at-Nite, which of course led to the explosions of 27 wildly successful cable networks around the world. As John Stewart mentioned to someone earlier today, Bob (and then Tom) built a company that spawned almost every interesting and worthwhile cable executive today (and the worthwhile ones thatdidn’t work there desperately hoped to).

From my perspective, Bob not only is/was smart, shrewd, and a saavy judge of talent, but, he has the best immediate media instincts of anyone I’ve ever met. To this day, if I need a ‘right’ judgement on any media issue, small or huge, I call Bob, ask him a question, and the first thing out of his mouth is right. Every. Single. Time.

As to animation, while I had done a lot before, it was Bob’s notion to do what became the revolutionary 10-second animated network IDs we produced for cable throughout the 80s. He had some wild ideas that were too weird even for MTV, and his vision of what they could be really created an alternative career for me and my partner Alan Goodman.

Not everyone had the great luck of timing to be in a room with Bob Pittman in 1980 like me, Tom, Alan, and all the others. Can’t imagine where I’d be without that luck.