CNN has officially launched CNNVR, a new immersive journalism unit and virtual reality platform with CNN Digital. Capturing major news events in 360 video, the global team will produce weekly virtual reality experiences and live streams.
News organisations have tested the VR waters over recent years, for instance CNN’s work with NextVR on a live presidential election debate, ABC News’ collaboration with Jaunt VR exploring Syria, and The New York Times’ work with Within on Walking New York, and over the past year, CNN has produced over 50 news stories with associated 360 video, generating over 30 million views on Facebook alone, the company says.
In a major new commitment to the medium, CNN has officially launched CNNVR, a new journalism unit that aims to produce immersive VR content across multiple platforms and devices. The CNNVR app has been available on Google’s Daydream VR platform since its November launch last year, and is now publishing content to the Samsung VR app on Gear VR and Oculus Video app on Rift too. In addition, CNN’s iOS and Android apps now support 360 video, along with the desktop site CNN.com/VR.
Speaking at VR Day Atlanta in January, CNN’s Head of VR, Ed Thomas, described VR and 360 video as a ‘reinvention of the news story telling process’. He highlighted the fact that CNNVR really satisfies the promise of CNN’s long-running ‘Go There’ brand campaign, being able to place the user in hard-to-reach places, or making them feel like an active participant within a news story.
CNN’s VR output is ramping up to a daily production cycle, with a key aim of delivering regular VR live streams of global events; teams are already set up in New York, Atlanta, London, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Dubai, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and Beijing, the company says.
The launch was marked with a powerful, thought-provoking use of 360 video capture—a compelling production about the controversial traditions of bull running and bull fighting in Pamplona, Spain.