Yahoo News Kicks off Immersive News Initiative With Camp Fire AR Story (EXCLUSIVE)

Yahoo News published an augmented reality (AR) feature dubbed “Rebuilding Paradise” as part of a new partner program for immersive news content Thursday. The feature takes viewers inside the reconstruction process for a home destroyed in last year’s deadly Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif.

“We want to put the user in the middle of the story,” explained Verizon Media general manager of news Alex Wallace in an interview with Variety. The video features a look at the home as it is being rebuilt, family photos, and audio from an interview with the homeowners about their decision to stay in Paradise.

In addition to this video, Yahoo News also published a 17-minute documentary together with Verizon Media’s Ryot Films titled “After the Fire” that commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire. And in partnership with McClatchy, Yahoo News is distributing a selection of 3D assets from Paradise after the fires that will also be made available on McClatchy’s platforms.

Ryot and Verizon Media have long produced immersive content, including both documentaries and narrative pieces. Earlier this year, Yahoo News announced a partnership with Reuters, Time, USA Today, AP, McClatchy and NowThis to use this kind of immersive storytelling for news content.

Popular on Variety

Partners will be able to make use of Verizon Media’s technology, including a holographic capture space in Ryot’s 5G Studio in Los Angeles, and Yahoo News will distribute and monetize the resulting videos. Company representatives told Variety that they’re currently in conversations with additional outlets and hope to sign deals soon.

The immersive “Rebuilding Paradise” video is a first result of this collaboration, and Wallace said that there will be many more to come. “The future of journalism is going to be XR,” she said, using the industry term for augmented and virtual reality storytelling. “It allows me to be more empathetic and more present in the story.”

More Digital

  • Any Given Wednesday With Bill Simmons

    Spotify in Talks to Acquire Bill Simmons' The Ringer: Report

    Spotify is in early talks to acquire The Ringer, the digital content and podcast network launched by ESPN alum Bill Simmons in 2016, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. A representative for Spotify declined to comment on the report. Reps for Ringer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spotify’s [...]

  • Ted Sarandos Milestone Award PGA

    Netflix Leader Ted Sarandos Plans Broader Creative Push for the Future

    Ted Sarandos, who has helped to upend the way audiences receive and consume entertainment as Netflix’s chief content officer, will be honored with the Milestone Award at the 31st annual Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 18. Game-changers including Steven Spielberg, Sherry Lansing, Robert Iger, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Ron Meyer have previously received the recognition, and [...]

  • peacock-ads-NBCU

    NBCU's Peacock Marks Media's Latest Try to Connect Consumers, Commercials

    In an era when consumers feel more empowered to avoid TV commercials, NBCUniversal is the latest media company to try to get them to bring ads back into their TV lives. One of the key selling points of big streaming-video services like Netflix and Disney Plus is that subscribers don’t have to endure the commercial [...]

  • OTT.X - Mark Fisher

    Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) Gets Renamed OTT.X With Expanded Scope

    The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) home-video retailing trade group has changed its name to OTT.X, The Over The Top Exchange. The new name reflects the org’s broader scope and community to adapt to the evolution of the home-entertainment ecosystem, according to Mark Fisher, president and CEO of OTT.X. The group’s new website is at ottx.org. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content