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HBO, Discovery Acquire Stakes in 3D Graphics Firm Otoy to Create Holographic Content

Jon Stewart developing short-form content with Otoy's system for HBO

Jon Stewart last Daily Show
Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central

Jon Stewart is closer to realizing his dream of appearing as a virtual-reality hologram.

HBO and Discovery Communications have taken equity stakes in 3D graphics company Otoy, under which the TV companies plan to develop and distribute original holographic content across television, mobile, web, social and virtual reality and augmented reality wearable devices.

As previously announced, Otoy is currently working with Jon Stewart on the development of short-form content for HBO digital services built using the startup’s platform. “Otoy is unbelievable! It’s a limitless, mind-blowing creative platform,” Stewart said in a statement. “My dream is to someday understand how they did it!!!”

Terms of the HBO and Discovery investments in Otoy were not disclosed. Other major investors in the company include Autodesk and Yuri Milner’s Digital Sky Technologies. Otoy’s technology has been used for VFX in movies including “Spider-Man 3,” “Fantastic Four” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

“HBO prides itself on being at the forefront of entertainment, both in the exceptional content we produce, and in the ways we bring that content to consumers,” said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming. “Otoy has a roadmap for the future of entertainment and technology. Their creativity and drive perfectly aligns with HBO’s.”

Paul Guyardo, Discovery’s chief commercial officer, added, “Otoy technology is a massive breakthrough and we look forward to seeing it take VR and AR experiences, including Discovery VR, to a whole new level.”

Otoy’s advisory board includes Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of WME/IMG; Eric Schmidt, exec chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet; Sam Palmisano, former chairman, CEO and president of IBM; and economist George Gilder. L.A.-based Otoy, founded in 2008, has about 60 employees.

“With HBO and Discovery as strategic investors and content publishing partners, we couldn’t be more excited to work together to map out the future of entertainment,” said Jules Urbach, Otoy’s founder and CEO. Prior to Otoy, Urbach created a web-based 3D video-game platform and licensed the software to companies including Disney, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon and Microsoft.