By Evan DeSimone
Depending on who you ask, virtual reality is either a fad, a movement, or the future of all media. Based on its newly announced push into the virtual content space, it appears that media giant The Associated Press is willing to at least consider the possibility of the latter.
The AP is collaborating with VR content studio RYOT on a new virtual reality series to be co-distributed their digital networks. It will be accessible through RYOT’s mobile VR app, as well as on the Oculus Share platform and through Google’s Cardboard app.
The new series will utilize virtual reality to create immersive experiences that take viewers inside some of the AP’s major news stories. The first project released through the collaboration will be “Seeking Home: Life Inside the Calais Migrant Camp.” The show will explore Europe’s refugee crisis at eye level, taking viewers inside a refugee camp in northern France, where migrants congregate in hopes of gaining passage to the United Kingdom.The collaboration is expected to yield multiple VR short films over the next five months.
The AP isn’t alone in exploring the potential of virtual reality as a medium for news content. As the hype surrounding virtual reality has grown, legacy news organizations have been quick to jump on the VR bandwagon. The New York Times has lept immersive video with its own VR app, launched today in partnership with VRSE, and a plan to distribute more than a million Google Cardboard viewers to its subscribers this coming weekend to jump start their consumption of mobile 360 video. ABC News has inked a VR partnership of its own, teaming up with Google preferred virtual content studio JauntVR to produce a set of 360 features designed for Cardboard.