An exclusive look at Verizon Media Immersive, a new toolset to streamline immersive content production for creatives, brands, and advertisers.
Today, Verizon Media announced the launch of a new extended reality (XR) toolset called Verizon Media Immersive, the largest XR platform for creating augmented, mixed, and virtual reality advertising and branded content with an emphasis on next-generation 5G experiences.
Verizon Media is a suite of brands that includes Yahoo, HuffPost, and TechCrunch, reaching nearly 900M unique monthly visitors worldwide. As a toolset, Verizon Media Immersive enables partners to create, distribute, and monetize XR content with authoring tools; a content library and search; and the ability to track performance through analytics. Through direct integration with Verizon Media Ad Platform, this branded content can then be deployed across different articles, search, and affiliate links in Verizon Media properties.
Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan sees this as a pivotal moment for brands to iterate, learn, and establish best practices with emerging formats while immersive content is still a young medium.
“We are on the verge of one of the most significant transformations in the way we interface with digital content since the invention of the smartphone; we believe extended reality is the next stage of digital content evolution and allows us to enhance our world in a more natural and human way,” Gowrappan said in an interview with the author. “As new hardware such as AR glasses and cloud-streamed low latency graphics hit the market, XR content will take center stage.”
Because the platform incorporates WebAR (sometimes referred to more broadly as “WebXR”) toolset, experiences created with VMI can be delivered directly from the browser, as opposed to needing to work exclusively from an app. Brands can integrate immersive experiences across the web, whether on desktop and mobile, opening new pathways for connecting with audiences.
“To this point XR has been constricted to in-app only and mobile-specific use cases,” Gowrappan said. “This has limited the types of XR experiences that could be developed, as well as their practicality. We developed Verizon Media Immersive to dramatically shift beyond mobile app environments into the web—and at scale…expanding our immersive portfolio beyond existing in-app AR and 3D, to include WebAR.”
One such example is a recent integration Verizon Media produced with Ford for Autoblog, the outlet’s first XR experience. Users can access a detailed model of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E on their desktop browser or take a virtual tour with AR.
RYOT, which Verizon acquired in 2014—and has become the first and only 5G production studio in the U.S.—was a driving force behind the development of Verizon Media Immersive. Through the studio’s creative expertise across film/TV, VFX, and XR, Verizon Media intends its immersive platform as one that allows partners to streamline content across delivery formats.
“We’re committed to using open industry formats for 3D content,” Gowrappan said. “Through Verizon Media Immersive, we’ll also aim to release tools that automate and scale Hollywood VFX techniques that help ensure the most premium and realistic immersive content. This will allow the industry as a whole to produce content that seamlessly blends with the real world and democratizes experiences.”
Of course, 5G plays a large role in Verizon Media Immersive’s functionality. Formats like volumetric capture and motion capture have traditionally been difficult to deliver across 4G LTE, but the advent of 5G will dramatically reduce the barrier to these mediums—and Gowrappan sees Verizon Media Immersive as the toolset that will offer benefit to brands just dipping their toes in immersive for the first time to full-fledged media campaigns.
“We’re at the forefront of 5G, powered by our omnichannel, programmatic platform that enables clients to plan, buy and measure at scale, across emerging formats and channels,” Gowrappan said. “We work with brands to offer storytelling capabilities, technology and resources that help partners bring their ideas to life – from ideation to illustration, conception to conversion.”
Verizon Media Immersive builds on the Yahoo News XR partner program launched last year. Through that program, news publishers partnered with Yahoo News and RYOT to produce and amplify immersive journalism. Current partners include The Associated Press, LA Times, NowThis, Reuters, TIME, and USA Today, with some projects earning placement in this author’s top AR of 2019 list.
Earlier this spring, Verizon Media Immersive was used to produce the Yahoo News “Keep This Space Safe” AR integration for social distancing (pictured above). For Earth Day, VMI worked with Yahoo News to educate audiences on the impact of plastic bottles in collaboration with Reuters.
“We were able to contextualize the growing issue through a 3D mountain of plastic that highlights just how many single use plastic bottles are sold each minute, alongside staggering data about the increase across the globe,” Gowrappan said.
For more information, visit the official Verizon Media website.