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Vice Media's key differentiation is 50 mn unique Indian audiences, storytelling & content creation capabilities: Nilesh Zaveri

As Vice Media is expanding, it is now broadening its reach beyond larger cities by creating content that is connecting with audiences in various regions throughout India, Nilesh Zaveri, Managing Director, APAC, Vice Media, said

Nilesh Zaveri

Vice Media has its finger firmly on the pulse of Gen Z and millennials, it has always remained ahead of emerging trends and has also become a go-to destination for those seeking out fresh and unconventional perspectives, as per Nilesh Zaveri, Managing Director, APAC, Vice Media.

In a conversation with, while speaking about Vice Media's audience base in India, Zaveri said that it comprises approximately 50 million unique audiences spread across various platforms.

“The key differentiation Vice Media provides is the access to Gen Z, millennials and youth audiences in general - which we pair with our unique storytelling and content creation capabilities. At the core of Vice Media is a content company essentially and we leverage that to produce content for our partners whether it's branded content, white label or commissioned content,” Zaveri said.

“This is all on the back of our proprietary data and research insights that we do a lot at Vice Media which helps us to create customised creative for each brand we work with. This is our key element of how we monetise in India,” he added.

Giving more context around content and insights, Zaveri gave a recent example where Vice Media did a campaign with Grey Goose around how an influencer could become a fashion designer. This came out after a lot of research and insights gathered across the category. Vice Media also did a campaign with Durex around female pleasure. "We do a lot of customised qualitative and quantitative research across Gen Z audiences. This becomes a key monetisation approach in India."  

Understanding young people's content preferences in India and beyond

“In India, we have a strong audience base of unique audiences de-duplicated across all platforms,” Zaveri stated. “This becomes a basis of how we look at creating content and our objective for our audience is always to not only to be informed about what is going on but also to gain a larger context to the stories that we believe are told in one or two perspectives in India by media outlets,” he added. 

Within India, some of the main ‘passion points’ for the audience are music, travel, food, sustainability, the future of work and LGBTQ+ inclusivity, according to Zaveri.

“We are also able to create a lot of IPs around each of these themes and we make unique formats and shows which we are able to create for our own channels and also work with brands around it if required. With our proprietary research and insights work, every year we publish a study called Vice Media Guide to Culture and that is a study across Gen Z audiences into the space of culture. So, that gives a lot of insights on what kind of content we need to create,” he added. 

The dominance of Gen Z and millennials in Vice Media India's audience

“A significant portion of our audience consists of Gen Z and millennials falling in the age range of 16-35 years. This demographic makes up approximately 85% of our total audience, with Gen Z representing about 40% of it. Therefore, a substantial part of our audience is quite young. In terms of gender distribution, males account for around 70%, while females represent 30%,” Zaveri said. 

Furthermore, he went on to say that about five years ago, Vice Media was launched in India, with a primary focus on 9-10 major cities. However, it is now broadening its reach beyond these larger cities. The company is creating content that is connecting with audiences in various regions throughout India.

Vice Media's focus on branded content and white label production

“We have multiple offerings for brands to partner with Vice Media in India. Vice Media branded content is our first way of working with brands. Recently we created a three-part football documentary with Budweiser which was about the story of Indian football from the 1950s to now,” Zaveri said. 

“We are known for presenting content in a documentary style in a very engaging way, that's our focus on Vice Media branded content. We also do a lot of white label production services. We are also doing something with CRED currently and in the past we have worked with Netflix as well. Since the time we started our focus has also been on the event space,” he added.

Recently, Vice Media also entered into the podcast space by announcing a partnership with Audible where they created four original series under the 'Dark Side' IP. 

Zaveri went on to say, “We are not a mass publisher and we do not intend to become that but the way we curate things is that we do stories which are relevant to the majority of our audiences which may be across culture and languages. We always aim to present stories in their original format and language. That is how we are able to navigate through diversity.” 

“We did a story about why Indian truck drivers get their trucks painted. It is such a simple thing and everybody knows about it but still, some people are actually unaware of it. This story fetched massive reach for us when we published this. We also did a story about one of the biggest fans of Rajnikanth in Japan and we documented his story,” he added.

Zaveri went on to say that Vice Media doesn’t try to differentiate from competitors in any specific way but the things which they are globally known for will always remain at their core.

“Authenticity is a big thing for us and 94% of our audiences say that Vice Media deepens their understanding of the world and we have the data behind these stories.” 

“We tell stories from different perspectives by giving a point of view but without taking sides. We always put ourselves as a predictive engine of culture globally. We always believe that we know what is coming next in the scene of culture,” Zaveri stated. 

“When we started our India presence in 2018, hip-hop and rap was not considered a mainstream music genre back then. We launched our India offering with 'Kya Bolta Bantai' and it was almost like the start of the whole rap scene. We have always been there before the trends emerge and way before anybody else picks these,” he added.

Non-fiction OTT shows

In India, Vice Media started producing non-fiction OTT shows with ‘Indian Predator’ for Netflix - a true crime documentary series. 

“The part of the business that runs and produces the OTT shows is under the Vice Studios division within Vice Media. We have this business spread globally and we have produced a lot of successful award-winning shows,” Zaveri stated. 

“We also produced the show 'Cinema Marte Dum Tak' with Amazon which was about pulp movies. We have also produced a lot of shows with Discovery as well. We want to present stories in the most authentic, local and relevant manner. Our key ability is to be able to research the subject well and be able to produce the standard of non-fiction that India has not seen before,” he added.

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