Venice media company RYOT has launched a partnership with the Associated Press to produce five short virtual reality documentaries.
The first report, “Seeking Home: Life Inside the Calais Migrant Camp,” was released today. It documents the largest migrant and refugee camp in northern France. In order to meet the AP’s strict editorial standards, the videos will be narrated by AP journalists, said RYOT co-founder Bryn Mooser.
RYOT ventured into virtual reality videos six months ago and thus far has created 20 virtual reality films, said Mooser. The videos are typically between three minutes and five minutes and are often paid productions for non-profits or corporations.
“Three to five minutes is what we’ve found is the real sweet spot, which we’ve found keeps people engaged,” he said. “You can’t be asking people in a movie theater or in their own home to move their head around for two hours. It’s cumbersome.”
In addition to being a virtual reality production house, RYOT runs a news site focused on world affairs, politics and humanitarian issues. As part of its media operations, the company has created several short virtual reality documentaries, including a film from a war zone in Syria and a piece examining the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake.
Joint AP-RYOT virtual reality videos will be distributed through the RYOT virtual reality mobile app, Oculus Share, YouTube 360 and Facebook 360. Right now, RYOT aims to distribute its content on as many platforms as possible, said Mooser.
“YouTube 360 is finding the most engagement, but that’s because Facebook 360 hasn’t launched for iOS yet,” he said.
Launched last year, RYOT has 35 employees and has raised roughly $2 million in seed funding, said Mooser. It is looking to further finance growth through a Series A offering soon, he said.