AOL announced today that it has agreed to acquire L.A.-based immersive media company and VR content studio RYOT. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
RYOT will join the AOL property The Huffington Post, where it will help it create 360-degree and VR content, as well as traditional videos, for its 15 global editions and advertising partners. It will also work with Partner Studio by AOL to produce immersive videos for brands.
“The Huffington Post disrupted traditional media, and we’re now architecting a new era of journalism that will shape the global discourse through immersive media,” said Jared Grusd, CEO of The Huffington Post, in a statement. “RYOT’s innovative mediums and eye for compelling content is a unique differentiator in the 360° space and we’re thrilled to welcome them to our team. We’re set to become leaders in the rapidly growing market and together will offer even more content to our readers and production power to our brand partners.”
The Huffington Post previously collaborated with RYOT on last December’s “The Crossing” (above), an immersive video series in which host Susan Sarandon chronicled the refugee crisis in Greece as is it unfolded.
“The Crossing” combined “technology and storytelling to put flesh and blood on a human crisis that, for far too many around the world, had become an abstraction,” said Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, in a statement. “It’s just the beginning of what we can do together covering news events, leading cultural conversations on a global scale, and going beyond raising awareness to making a difference in people’s lives.”
Ultimately, RYOT’s duties for AOL — which was acquired by Verizon for $4.4B last year — will extend to its other owned and operated properties, including Autoblog, BUILD, Engadget, MAKERS and TechCrunch.
RYOT was founded in 2012 by Bryn Mooser, David Darg and Martha Rogers to spotlight the world’s key global and social issues through 360-degree and virtual reality experiences that put viewers everywhere from on the ground in a Syrian war zone to in the middle of the destruction of the Nepal earthquake. Earlier this year, Mooser and Darg received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Short for “Body Team 12,” about Liberian Red Cross workers who collected dead bodies during the height of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.