Discovery Sets Biggest VR Project to Date, Teaming With Google on Epic Travel Series

Discovery TRVLR _ Discovery VR
Courtesy of Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications is mounting its largest-scale virtual-reality project yet with “Discovery TRVLR,” a 38-episode travel documentary series taking viewers to all of Earth’s seven continents.

The cable programmer has signed an exclusive brand sponsor for “Discovery TRVLR,” to be announced at a later date, according to a rep. Shooting for in the series has spanned about three months and is still ongoing, with the earthquake in Mexico City last month disrupting production of the final episodes.

Discovery pacted with Google’s VR group to distribute the docu-series. It will be free to watch exclusively on YouTube, DiscoveryVR.com and on the Discovery VR app — no cable subscription required.

“Discovery TRVLR” can be experienced in VR with the Google Daydream View headset as well as with Google Cardboard, and in non-VR format on the web, Android and iOS phones.

The series is broken into seven chapters, each exploring a different continent. Chapters for North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia comprise six episodes each, while the chapter for Antarctica features two episodes. The first chapter is slated to launch Nov. 3, taking viewers on a 360-degree tour of Auckland, New Zealand.

On each continent, “Discovery TRVLR” profiles four different personalities — the Guru, the Renegade, the Entertainer and the Explorer — documenting their unique rituals and traditions. Each chapter in the series opens with a sunrise, recalling the “Sunrise Earth” series on Discovery’s very first HD channel, and concludes with a sunset.

The project is overseen by Rebecca Howard, SVP of emerging platforms and partnerships for Discovery VR, who joined the company from the New York Times last year. The episodes of “Discovery TRVLR” that were shot on six continents — North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe — were written and directed by Addison O’Dea and produced by VR studio Here Be Dragons (in which Discovery is an investor). The segments filmed in Antarctica were directed by Barry Pousman and produced by Yes Please Thank You. Saschka Unseld served as creative producer for the series.

Launched in August 2015, the Discovery VR app has been downloaded 4.3 million times and generated more than 123 million views to date, according to the company. The app features a lineup of more than 160 VR experiences.

Watch the trailer for “Discovery TRVLR”: