The New York Times is seriously doubling down on VR content to propel ad revue.
On July 22, the publisher debuted its first 360-degree video experience for advertisers on its mobile website — and just a week later, it upped the ante even further, giving the VR video experience some prime advertising real estate right underneath the masthead on its main website.
The Times‘ first-ever VR video execution featured content crafted for GE by T Brand Studio, its brand marketing unit, which was initially created back in 2015 for the launch of the publisher’s NYTVR app (it offers 360-degree video viewing using the Google cardboard viewing set or a smartphone screen), its most successful app launch to-date with more than 600,000 downloads, and then incorporated into the experience on the mobile website. A new advertiser, Infiniti, was added using the app’s 360-degree video functionality, another first for the company.
To power these immersive video experiences for advertisers, the publisher is utilizing technology from 360-degree virtual advertising platform OmniVirt, which allows website visitors to launch VR video ad experiences directly inside articles featured on publishers’ platforms without assistance from a VR-app or the limited VR devices on the market.
“By bringing content it produced on behalf of GE out of the NYTVR app, and into mobile website, The New York Times was able to dramatically improve discovery of this content,” a rep from OmniVert wrote in a July 26 blog post on its website announcing the debut of the 360-degree experience on the New York Times’ mobile website.
“Rather than limiting consumption of this Virtual Reality content to a special app or platform, The New York Times took advantage of OmniVirt’s player and advertising technology to enable its audience to view this content across all of its properties and the rest of the web. One tap to virtual reality. No app, no headset needed.”
At the Digital Content NewFronts in May, The New York Times, along with other big publishers, indicated their intention to go “all in” on VR, with The Times making no bones about its plans to “double down” on its commitment to VR as a new revenue opportunity, announcing its intention to pursue opportunities around 360-degree video viewing.
The inclusion of VR content on its mobile and main website follows a successful VR-powered showing for The New York Times at the Cannes Lions international advertising festival in June. It was awarded the Lions Entertainment Grand Prix at the Canned Lions international advertising festival for its individual virtual reality film “The Displaced,” shot by Vrse.Wrks. It also won a Grand Prix in Mobile for its NYT VR app.