Vice vice baby

Bringing insights from global media and with a monthly audience of more than 200 million, predominantly Millennials, Lars Hemming Jorgensen, chief executive of VICE in Denmark, answers an Artworks Q&A

2 min read

Are you artists or a business?

I guess we don’t think too much about this. We’ve never really respected the line between the two. We do make money, quite a lot actually, but have never compromised our mission to make jaw-dropping and world-class content.

Businesses want content, can content be an art?

Smart businesses have realised that the power has shifted from the broadcaster to the audience. Consumers can immediately comment, share and even destroy creative in a matter of minutes. This has created a need for business to invest more in creative, specifically content, in order to engage audiences. Millennials are very advertising-savvy, but it doesn’t mean they are not susceptible to advertising. They simply demand more than a 30-second knock over the head.

What do modern audiences want?

They have realised that business and the arts most often come together. The new creative that inspires and entertains them comes with the funding from brands who want their attention and loyalty. The audiences reap the benefits of this as communication is more a form of mass-customisation where “niche” is suddenly “mass” thanks to the internet and smartphones.

Why is niche “mass” now?

Take news. VICE got tired of zapping between channels and seeing the same story as news corporations applied the Pareto Principle to the world affairs, focusing on 20 per cent of the news that 80 per cent of the audiences wanted to see. Our approach was different. We got fed up about all the stories that weren’t told and started going to all the places where the suited journalists weren’t at. We did in-depth stories from inside the story. The result is the Emmy-nominated VICE HBO show, a Twitter co-op serving daily news and original content programming for YouTube.

Have you noticed a democratisation of the arts and creative production?

The good news is that the barriers to entry are very low. Pretty much anybody with a smartphone can create very creative media that can inspire people and achieve success. However, at the same time it also means you need to be insanely good to succeed – you have over a billion content-creating competitors.

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