As virtual reality and augmented reality technology quickly advance, a number of established media companies are jumping on the bandwagon and trying their hands at creating immersive content and integrating it into their media and ad products.
On Tuesday, HBO and Discovery Communications announced that they have taken equity stakes in OTOY, an L.A.-based startup that specializes in 3D graphics. The two companies plan to work with OTOY to develop and distribute original holographic content across their media properties, including TV, mobile, and even virtual reality devices. In fact, OTOY has already started working with Jon Stewart to create short-form content for HBO Now, the standalone OTT subscription service HBO launched last year.
Similarly, AOL announced earlier today it is acquiring virtual reality and 360-degree video startup RYOT for an undisclosed amount. RYOT will form a new VR content unit under AOL’s The Huffington Post and will also work with other AOL-owned publications such as TechCrunch, Engadget, and Autoblog to create branded content for AOL’s ad clients.
What Brands Need To Do
With more and more media owners starting to invest in VR and AR and honing their skills in producing immersive content, they offer brands more opportunities to create new types of branded content to engage their audiences with. Although virtual reality may still be a few years away from mass adoption (as we predicted in the 2020 section in our Outlook 2016), brands looking to stay ahead of the innovation curve would be smart to start developing their own branded VR content today.