AOL snaps up VR firm Ryot

Dive Brief:

  • Virtual reality and 360-degree video is on the cutting edge of marketing right now and AOL addressed that need in by purchasing Ryot, a VR and 360-degree video specialist.
  • Ryot is a self-described immersive media company founded in 2012.
  • Beyond bringing VR capabilities in-house, the purpose for purchasing Ryot was to boost AOL-owned Huffington Post’s VR immersive video offering. Interestingly, Ryot’s website already redirects to the Huffington Post.

Dive Insight:

Virtual reality and 360-degree video have been a big focus for both Google and Facebook in the past few years. At this point, marketers should at least have a passing understanding of how to take advantage of the two formats within digital campaigns. 

After being acquired by Verizon, AOL has been aggressively rebranding as a data-driven competitor to Facebook and Google with CEO Tim Armstrong going so far as to declare AOL would be the top mobile media company in the world by 2020. The acquisition gives the tech firm an internal resource for creating VR and 360-degree video campaigns.

Venture Beat speculated that the immediate redirect of Ryot’s website to Huffington Post is an indication of how AOL intends to make use of Ryot as the site already includes a large amount of video content.

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, told the Wall Street Journal, “RYOT will work on big editorial projects, but also with brands. It will work across everything we’re doing at The Huffington Post.”

Though VR headsets are not widely available at low price points yet — Google’s Cardboard headset is the most cost-effective offering coming in shy of $30 — as more of these tools become available, consumers will look to marketers for more immersive video experiences.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Recommended Reading

Venture Beat:
AOL acquires VR content studio Ryot to bring immersive video to the Huffington Post

Wall Street Journal:
Verizon’s AOL Buys Virtual Reality Video Specialist RYOT

Marketing Dive:
AOL looking to use data to fuel its digital ad business

Marketing Dive:
Brace for it: The advertising world gears up for virtual reality

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