During its annual NewFront presentation today, Time Inc. previewed LIFE VR, an innovative video platform from the historic and beloved LIFE brand that will showcase the world through the lens of virtual reality. LIFE VR will be Time Inc.’s dedicated VR platform that will offer immersive, next-level storytelling culled from Time Inc.’s 100 global brands—including Time, People, Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated—and will feature experiences across every passion with channels dedicated to news, sports, celebrity, fashion, food, travel, finance and more.
LIFE VR is a natural extension of the LIFE brand, one of the most followed media brands on Pinterest (currently with 1 million followers) that also has nearly 4.5 million Twitter followers. Operated under the auspices of Time, The Foundry and Time Inc. Studios, LIFE VR will house all the virtual reality content from Time Inc. brands and will debut this fall as a free standalone app on iOS and Android. There will be a mobile viewer experience for users of compatible goggles as well as 360 video experienced through the handset alone. LIFE VR’s leadership team consists of Chris Hercik, VP of Creative + Content at The Foundry; Mike Beck and Ian Orefice, Senior Executive Producers of Time Inc. Video; and Mia Tramz, Managing Editor of the LIFE VR initiative and Senior Multimedia Editor of Time.
“Throughout its history, LIFE has been a lens through which to see deeper into the world around us,” said Nancy Gibbs, Editor of Time, who oversees the LIFE brand. “This breakthrough in technology now invites our audience not just to observe but to experience the stories we are telling.”
This initiative is another example of Time Inc.’s multifaceted video strategy to deliver its world-class video storytelling to consumers across all channels, platforms and devices. It also follows a series of virtual reality efforts from the company, including InStyle’s first VR experience last October which featured a three-minute tour of a cover shoot starring Drew Barrymore and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s VR experiences taking viewers inside the photo shoots of former cover models on location that were presented in the SI Swim mobile app. In support of this effort, the company has formed development partnerships with leading VR companies Framestore, NextVR and WEVR, and several projects are currently in development.
“As we lookat the future of LIFE, virtual reality is a technological gift that will enable us to show viewers the world in a whole new way while continuing to deliver the most meaningful and relevant stories of our times in an immersive, forward-thinking way,” said Hercik.
LIFE launched in 1936 and quickly became the country’s preeminent cultural chronicler, showcasing the most compelling photographs of the times and revealing the stories behind them. LIFE VR is a natural extension for the brand and is in keeping with Henry Luce’s vision for the brand as outlined by the famous opening paragraph of the prospectus for LIFE:
To see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events; to watch the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud; to see strange things—machines, armies, multitudes, shadows in the jungle and on the moon; to see man’s work—his painting, towers and discoveries; to see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to; the women that men love and many children; to see and to take pleasure in seeing; to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed; Thus to see, and to be shown, is now the will and new expectancy of half mankind.