The Huffington Post, owned by AOL, owned by Verizon, is buying a virtual reality studio called RYOT to build VR content production on the site, according to a blog post from site co-founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington.
Sources have confirmed to us RYOT’s purchase price was in the $10 to $15 million range. The company had secured a little more than $3 million in Series A funding prior to the purchase.
The studio will also be providing their services to other AOL content properties (of which TechCrunch is one). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“As anyone who’s ever experienced VR on a headset or 360 video on your phone knows, the possibilities are powerful,” Huffington wrote. “And RYOT brings all the tech know-how that make these experiences possible.”
The LA-based studio will be placed as a new unit under AOL’s Huffington Post and will be contributing 360-degree VR capabilities to all of the publication’s global news desks. In addition, the studio will be creating specialized content for partnered brands through AOL’s Partner Studio.
RYOT, founded in 2012, has been shooting VR and 360-degree films and documentaries with the aim of giving viewers more immersive experiences.
“We wanted to make the news empowering rather than depressing. To turn people on by what was happening around them rather than turn them off,” said Bryn Mooser, co-founder of RYOT. “Throughout RYOT’s journey, we searched for the next technology to bring us closer into the story and we found virtual reality.”
The studio’s films have won 11 awards, garnered an Oscar nomination and have been shown at 40 international film festivals.