AOL might not be hosting a large event during the current NewFront Season in New York City, but it still has an announcement to make. Today, AOL announced the debut of RYOT Lab, a division of RYOT that helps brands and publishers communicate with immersive video experiences, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 360-degree video.
RYOT is a cutting-edge video company acquired by the Huffington Post in 2016. OnlineVideo.net caught up with company CMO Molly Swenson at the recent Adobe Summit, where she explained how RYOT started as a blog that encouraged people to take action on issues they cared about, then moved into video creation. It used VR to make important issues interesting.
While today’s announcement positions RYOT Lab as the branded video-creation arm of RYOT, the company has already completed several immersive video projects for brands. For example, it created an AR project for Hearst’s Elle magazine: When readers viewed Elle’s Women in Hollywood issue through an app, there were able to see exclusive videos.
RYOT Lab is advancing that branded work with a “dedicated team of artists, technologists, developers, and engineers,” writes Zeda Stone, RYOT’s chief innovation officer and RYOT Lab’s creative director, in a press statement. The division “empowers brands and advertisers to tap into the storytelling power of immersive formats and interactive experiences using emerging technology.”
One of RYOT Lab’s first projects is a repeat of its AR magazine cover enhancements, this time for Time Inc. Pick up the latest Sports Illustrated, download the Life VR app (for iOS and Android), and watch the magazine’s swimsuit models come to life on specially marked pages.
“We are thrilled to provide the technology which allows the enhancement and amplification of stories in unique and meaningful ways,” Stone writes. “AR is the future of storytelling and we couldn’t be more excited to help build it with Time Inc.”
According to Variety, RYOT will announce a VR production at the Cannes Festival of Creativity next month. Word from the newfronts is that AOL will have some additional video surprises at that show, as well, so anyone who misses AOL’s usual newfront spectacle only needs to wait a few weeks.