There’s nothing quite so quotidian as getting caught up with the day’s news, which is probably why the New York Times’ new The Daily 360 project has such strong support from Samsung. Samsung is providing Gear 360 cameras and other equipment to Times reporters for capturing 360-degree footage while in the field, and NYT is committing to publishing at least one immersive video every day beginning November 1, to its website, mobile and VR apps.
The project is definitely an interesting one, and some of the best uses of 360-degree video to date have been in service of journalistic endeavours. Huffington Post’s RYOT has done some interesting storytelling, for instance (disclosure: AOL owns both TC and Huffington Post), and The Guardian’s 6×9 project is another strong example. NYT itself has also done some strong VR film work, including The Displaced.
What this new project attempts to do is move VR and 360-degree video from being an occasional or special format, to something that’s produced and consumed daily. In a press release announcing the news, NYT’s EVP and Chief Revenue Officer Meredith Kopit Levien says that the explicit goal is to make 360 content “as common as text or interactives.”
For NYT, it’s a chance to be early to a category that looks set to grow as everyone from Google to Microsoft eagerly builds hardware and platform support. For Samsung, it’s a chance to add currency and dynamism to a content library that can look static or uninteresting after the first couple of experiences on the user’s end. A promise of something new every day from a content provider audiences already know and value is no small thing in an emerging field like VR.
That doesn’t mean it’s going to work: Another early attempt to capitalize on a new kind of platform shared a similar name to the The Daily 360: News Corps’ iPad exclusive digital magazine The Daily. That one proved the bear case for content targeting a specific medium too early in its life cycle, and suffered the consequences.
Daily 360 sounds like a much more incidental, add-on play than a focused standalone effort, however and should help chart the future of what daily immersive journalism could look like.