NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shane Smith, Vice Media's never-bashful co-founder and chief executive, has never waffled about his view of where media and "media consumption," that most popular of industry terms, is headed. And that may be the biggest reason Time Warner (TWX) may be in talks to buy Smith's Vice Media, owner of the provocative young male-focused Vice web site, a prospective deal valued at $2.2 billion deal that was first reported by Sky News.
Last month in New York, as part of a panel immodestly entitled "The Future of Media" and hosted by the Web site IWantMedia, Smith threw one of his emblematic punches, exclaiming that while he respects the New York Times (NYT), and other legacy print publishers, he wouldn't want to trade places with its chairman, the sometimes embattled Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
"Traditional media has owned the Babyboomers, and now Gen-Y has crept up and caught everyone by surprise," Smith said. "The New York Times and the Washington Post are very good at what they do but their demographic is aging. And now we want to go out and eat their lunch. It is a great time to be in this business, because it's opening, and it should."
The future of media, Smith argued, is the convergence of talent and technology, and everybody is trying to find a good combination of the two. Newfangled publishers such as Vox Media -- The Verge, Eater, Curbed -- are acquiring talent (The Washington Post's Ezra Kelin), while truth be told, legacy print publishers are seeking better technology (The Post's Jeff Bezos hiring 35 to 50 new digitally-savvy staffers in 2014).