AOL acquires Ryot to create ‘world’s largest’ VR news network
Wed 20 Apr 2016
AOL has today announced the acquisition of immersive media company Ryot Corps, whose VR news services will be rolled into The Huffington Post to create the ‘world’s largest 360° and VR news network’.
Announcements were made by Ryot CEO and founder Bryn Mooser and Arianna Huffington at a new subdomain at the Huffington Post. The incorporation of Ryot’s 360-degree and VR technologies and workflows into the Huffington Post’s video output will bring, says Arianna Huffington ‘an entirely new range of experiences to our global audience, from virtual reality to full-length films and 360°’.
Ryot, based in Venice, CA, was launched in 2012 with the ambit of ‘[linking] every news story to an action’, according to Mooser, and went on to document hard news stories around the world with an innovative array of technologies, covering stories such as the Nepal earthquake and chaotic political rallies in the U.S.
Ryot co-founders Mooser and David Darg met in Haiti during the aftermath of the earthquake there in 2010, whilst both were working for voluntary aid organisations. The company’s short film Body Team 12 was nominated for a 2016 Academy Award. The company has previously worked with the Huffington Post, as well as with The Associated Press, The New York Times, NPR and the Sierra Club. The company, at least to date, has been organised into three divisions, dealing respectively with media campaigns, events and social media work; documentaries, web content and narrative work; and with outreach work to post-disaster zones around the world.
The rush for VR dominance has been making a lot of news in 2016. Facebook, already massively committed to the format with its multi-billion dollar purchase of Oculus, recently announced that it is making the hardware and software specs of its innovative 360-degree camera open source. And YouTube, already advanced in VR innovation, has just launched live streams in virtual reality with 3D sound.