On November 8th, alongside their New York Times Sunday newspaper, subscribers also received a Google Cardboard viewing device. With the Google Cardboard and the newly launched NYT VR mobile app, readers now have an entrance into a new form of storytelling. The NYT VR app creates a virtual experience that allows viewers to access images and videos in 360-degree panoramic shots on their phones. With the help of the Google Cardboard, the viewer virtual reality experience is enhanced to 3D.
The purpose of the NYT VR app is to place viewers in the center of compelling stories, written by award-winning journalists. The app is pretty simple. Regardless of if viewers have a Google Cardboard or not, all they have to do is download the mobile app, where they can instantly view videos.
The initial download comes with two videos from the New York Times Magazine, the first video, “The Displaced,” is about the lives of three children that have been removed from their families due to war. The second video is a behind-the-scene’s film about the makings of the New York Times Magazine cover, “Walking New York.”
According to Jake Silverstien, editor of the magazine, these videos are a “new filmmaking technology that will allow readers to fill a connection with people whose lives are far from our own.”
The main question we have is, will viewers remain interested? The videos are expensive to make and take time. Because of this, the next round of videos is predicted to come out December 2016. It’s no secret that we are living in a world where “out of sight, out of mind” has become the norm. It will be interesting to see how the Times determines what stories will be deemed newsworthy enough to make it to video.
So what do you think? Is this the future of all traditional print publications? More importantly, if this type of virtual experience becomes popular, it could potentially change PR and how PR professionals pitch their clients to the media. As for now, we will have to wait and see.