Vice Media's new TV channel barely registers an audience on its UK debut

VicelandViceVice show ‘Big Night Out.’

Viceland made a very quiet start to life on British television.

Vice’s television channel launched on slot 153 on Sky late Monday morning, but it was not until 8 p.m. that the channel’s schedule really came alive.

Viceland aired shows including club series “Big Night Out” with writer Clive Martin, and drug series “Weediquette.” It also gave online documentaries including “The Islamic State” their first TV outing in Britain.

Overall, Viceland averaged an audience of 5,500 from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. Its viewing figures peaked at 12.20 a.m. with 17,200 as it showcased Vice News programming, according to Barb data from

The good news is this: The 5,500 average was 31% higher than the channel it replaced. Pick+1 has averaged 4,200 on a Monday night this year.

Here is the bad news: When Barb figures dip below 16,000, they become unreliable and inconsistent because the data is being drawn from such a small number of people on the Barb research panel.

The ratings figures also show that Viceland had a 0% share of 16 to 34 year olds between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. This is Vice’s heartland millennial audience.

Business Insider has asked Vice for comment.

The company is likely to point out that it is very early days and that the Barb overnights are just a small part of the picture. Catch-up viewing will be important, as will audiences for Viceland’s content on Sky’s on-demand service Now TV.

Viceland has struggled for TV viewers in the US as well. The cable channel averaged 45,000 adult viewers under the age of 50 in July, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Asked about the viewing figures at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Vice founder and chief executive Shane Smith was not fazed. He said TV is ultimately contributing to growth in Vice’s global audience, adding:

“The economics of television allows you to drive a very dense, high quality, high volume of content. And if that content resonates with young people … you can then take that content, you can licence it to mobile, you can licence it online, you can sell it, you can put it on your own platforms, you can do things with brands, you can sell the advertising around it.”

Furthermore, Vice is targeting steady growth in the UK, rather than launching in a blaze of publicity. It did not pump lots of cash into marketing Viceland, and the channel is still not featured on many of main listings websites.

Here’s a screengrab of the Radio Times listings on Tuesday. Viceland should be featured in channel slot 153.

NOW WATCH: These secret codes let you access hidden iPhone features

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Tagged In

sai-us uk vice vice media