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SBS Viceland launches in Australia

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Danielle McGrane

Australia is about to get a healthy dose of edgy, millennial programming as SBS Viceland launches Down Under.

The new free-to-air TV station, which was revealed to be replacing SBS 2 last month, kicks off on Tuesday afternoon with shows about marijuana, rapping chefs and gaycations.

During the launch of SBS programming for 2017 in Sydney on Tuesday, diversity was the predictable buzzword for the proudly multicultural station with several new shows covering refugee stories, a provocative dating show and a broad range of factual storytelling set to air.

But Viceland, a partnership between SBS and the TV arm of VICE magazine overseen by director Spike Jonze, could prove to be the jewel in SBS' crown as it touches on Zeitgeist topics that have made it a go-to online viewing spot.

With this transition to TV in Australia, the current spot for Viceland on YouTube will no longer host original content before it appears on SBS Viceland and the SBS On Demand digital service.

"We can geoblock content by geography so we'll be pulling a lot of it," the president of Viceland International James Rosenstock told AAP.

Rosenstock said they've been testing the content online in Australia up to this launch with SBS.

"What we like to do, and what we've done when we've launched in other markets, is to get some content out in the market to just seed the channel and seed some of the show ideas and really use it as a promotional tool. But once we launch in the market, we'll pull back there," he said.

"Vice.com, our digital property which has been here for a decade, will continue to do what they do so that's different content length than we would do with our TV stuff, so that will co-exist but we've got about 30-40 TV series that you'll see on SBS Viceland."

The station will touch on topics relevant to a young audience including Gaycation, hosted by actress Ellen Page and her best friend Ian Daniel, which is a travel show from an LGBTQI perspective, or F**k, That's Delicious, a cookery show hosted by rapper and former chef Action Bronson.

Journalist Krishna Andavolu, who started out making documentaries for Vice online, is the host of one of the station's edgier docu-series titled Weediquette.

"We're chronicling as marijuana goes from a subculture to a mainstream culture and how it affects the lives of every day people," Andavolu told AAP.

"It's a show about pot, but it's a show about a lot more than pot."

Viceland has already launched in the UK and Canada and is about to hit the rest of the world.

"We've signed deals to launch in about 50 markets. We've launched in the UK, Canada and are launching in France, New Zealand, and Australia within the next few weeks," Rosenstock said.

* SBS Viceland is now available on Australian free-to-air TV in place of SBS 2

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