Palo Alto, Ca.-based Jaunt VR announced this morning that it has appointed Hearst Corporation exec George Kliavkoff as its new CEO, effective today.
Chief technology officer Arthur van Hoff has been serving as interim CEO since Jaunt CEO and co-founder Jens Christensen stepped aside in May. Kliavkoff is relocating from New York City to the Silicon Valley to assume the post. With this arrival, van Hoff will resume his role as CTO.
At Hearst Corporation, Kliavkoff served as co-president of entertainment & syndication, the company’s largest operating division, responsible for its interests in cable television networks (including ESPN, Lifetime, A&E and History), television production and distribution, newspaper syndication, and merchandise licensing. Kliavkoff also served as president of Hearst Ventures, which makes strategic investments in companies operating at the intersection of media and technology.
Prior to Hearst, Kliavkoff was chief digital officer at NBCUniversal, where he helped launch Hulu.com, developed new business models and markets and oversaw the distribution of video and other products and services across digital platforms. Earlier in his career, he was EVP for Major League Baseball Advanced Media, where he oversaw MLB’s online and mobile subscription and licensing businesses, as well as all business development.
“I have been consistently impressed by Jaunt and am excited to lead the team at this point in the company’s evolution,” said Kliavkoff in a statement. “Jaunt is set to dramatically change the way people enjoy immersive content, and the company is setting the bar in innovation and cinematic storytelling excellence in virtual reality.”
Founded in 2013 by Christensen, van Hoff and Tom Annau, Jaunt has raised more than $100 million in financing, capped by a $66 million Series C round last September led by Disney, CAA-backed Evolution Media Capital and Jaunt China partner CMC. It has offices in Amsterdam and London, in addition to Palo Alto.
The company has been Google’s preferred partner for all its 360-degree video and immersive content, creating the first wave of streamable 360-degree video ads for YouTube. It has also worked on VR projects for ABC and Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame Tour, as well as partnered with Paul McCartney on a six-part documentary series and Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ) and director Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity,” “Edge of Tomorrow”) on the episodic virtual reality action-adventure series “Invisible.”
In February, it launched Jaunt China, a China-based VR company, with Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and China Media Capital (CMC), two of China’s largest media companies.
All of the content Jaunt has produced to date can be viewed on the Jaunt VR App, available on iOS, Android, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Desktop 360.