NewFronts: Media Publishers Bolster Content with Virtual Reality


Last week at the NewFronts conference in New York we saw top media publishers double down on VR content and immersive programming. Continuing the conference wide trend, VR is once again taking center stage among the annual gathering of brands, media and agencies. This second week saw its fair share of VR annoucements from media publishers all looking to court top advertising dollars on the heels of VR making its way into the lives of consumers.

So what media companies entered the ring of VR content creation at this past week’s NewFronts?


StyleHaul’s VR Sci-Fi Novel Series

StyleHaul is adapting the young adult sci-fi book Free to Fall as its first foray into virtual reality. During their presentation on stage, StyleHaul introduced the new 360° video series based on the 2014 novel written by Lauren Miller. The story is about a teenage girl named Rory Vaughn who lives in a society that makes all of their decisions based on what a mobile app called Lux tells people to do. The 360° videos will be a part of a larger series that puts the user in charge of the narrative, like a “choose your own adventure” with 360° video supplemental stories that will run 3-5 minutes each.


The Economist’s New VR Initiative

The publisher unveiled their Economist Films unit to not only create longer form film documentaries but also jump into VR video as part of their expanding division. Its Media Lab in New York has already experimented with VR technology through “RecoVR: Mosul”, a virtual tour of centuries-old historic and religious artifacts from the Iraqi city of Mosul which were destroyed by ISIS in 2015. Attendees at The Economist’s NewFronts were able to experience its latest VR project, Osaka, an episode of the Passport series, which uses film and VR to provide a first-hand experience of what it’s like to live in the Japanese city.


Nat Geo Goes Wild for Virtual Reality

National Geographic is hoping to bring consumers closer to the adventure than ever before. In addition to announcing a slew of other programming and photography related initiatives, Nat Geo unveiled their plan to form NG VR Studio. The virtual reality studio will take you to the front lines of the action, placing you on the ground alongside Nat Geo explorers, photographers and storytellers through Nat Geo VR.


Playboy Dips Their VR Toes

Playboy won’t be wading too far in the virtual reality deep end, but the publisher will be creating one technology based show. The Tech 360 series will include tech blogger Jon Rettinger and model Amy Willerton as they visit some of the most hallowed tech destinations.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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