NBCUniversal has partnered with Google to produce and distribute original 360-degree video and 180VR video content for properties like “Saturday Night Live,” Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” and SYFY Wire. Altogether, the partnership will result in at least 10 multi-episode VR productions.
“We are constantly looking for opportunities to bring consumers new ways to experience content from across the NBCUniversal portfolio,” said NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises executive vice president Ron Lamprecht. “We look forward to working with Google and YouTube on more collaborations like this in the future.”
“NBCUniversal’s networks and shows have a proven track record of high-quality storytelling that audiences can’t get enough of,” added Google VR & AR business & operations vice president Amit Singh. “Bringing them to VR lets fans connect with that content in a whole new way.”
The collaboration between the two companies began in earnest in January, and resulted among other things in a few 360-degree videos for Saturday Night Live, featuring stars like Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. On Monday, the broadcaster released two new videos featuring Bravo reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump and the cast of “Vanderpump Rules.”
These videos were produced with Jump, Google’s 360-degree video capture and production platform. Jump automatically combines the individual videos of a 17-camera video rig in the cloud, doing away with the need for any manual stitching in the production process.
NBCUniversal also recently began to shoot videos in VR180, a relatively new format spearheaded by YouTube that combines 180-degree video with 3D when watched with a compatible VR headset.
In addition to these VR productions, NBCUniversal is also exploring producing augmented reality (AR) content in partnership with Google, Variety has learned from a source familiar with the deal. Google announced its mobile AR technology ARCore last summer, and began making it available to hundreds of millions of Android phones in February. Adding AR to the mix could help NBCUniversal reach much bigger audiences and revenue potential.
Said Lamprecht: “We look forward to working with Google and YouTube on more collaborations like this in the future.”