Success stories: VICE

Success stories: VICE

VICE originally started its YouTube channel with the intention of catering to (what it assumed were) the interests of a YouTube audience. But, it didn't find success building a sustained audience until it returned to what VICE does best -- long-form, gritty documentaries. From the beginning, VICE optimized every video upload and took a strategic approach to program its channel. This investment, along with excellent watch-time performance, helped magnify the impact of individual successes by converting viewers into subscribers and spurring residual viewership from top-performing videos.

VICE is known for its bold explorations of "uncomfortable truths" and "going to places they don't belong," partly due to the controversial videos on its YouTube channel. But it didn't always have the millions of subscribers and views it has today -- three key events led the channel to its current success. VICE grew its channel views, subscriber base, and watch-time with a few optimizations and smart strategies that leveraged breakout videos for overall channel growth.

The goals

The approach

The results

  • Turn viewers into subscribers
  • Spur additional channel views from top-performing videos
  • Grow overall viewership, subscriber base and watch-time
  • Kick-started viewership with off-site sharing and posting of videos
  • Optimized programming strategies and content, such as playlist viewing and thumbnail selection
  • Took advantage of content topicality
  • 20M monthly video views on average
  • 2M total subscribers
  • 150M average monthly watch-time (minutes)

Several important events contribute to the lifetime growth of the VICE channel, but here are three key optimizations and strategies that ignited sustained success for the channel.

Case studies from successful creators

VICE is known for its bold explorations of "uncomfortable truths" and "going to places they don't belong". It grew its channel views, subscriber base, and watch-time with a few optimizations and smart strategies that leveraged breakout videos for overall channel growth.