TV Upfront

The New York Times Is Creating a Virtual-Reality Campaign for an Advertiser

Expect It in Four Months

By Published on .

Virtual reality goggles from Facebook's Oculus Rift
Virtual reality goggles from Facebook's Oculus Rift

The New York Times' native-ad department, T Brand Studio, is creating a virtual reality campaign for an advertising client, a Times executive told Ad Age.

The executive, Sebastian Tomich, who heads up the T Brand Studio, declined to name the advertiser. But expect the campaign to roll out in the next four months, he said.

"It's a big thing for us," he said. "The content itself is, without a doubt, the most immersive we've done."

A challenge, he acknowledged, is consumer adoption of virtual reality. The goggles needed to view VR films are not a widely available consumer product, but Mr. Tomich suggested the project could be viewable using an app and a cardboard device that Google created to enable wider VR adoption.

Mr. Tomich was among several Times executives who spoke at the company's NewFronts presentation in New York on Monday morning. During the event, the Times trotted out several of its editors and columnists -- including DealBook founder Andrew Ross Sorkin, food columnist Melissa Clark and T magazine Editor-in-Chief Deborah Needleman -- to impress upon advertisers the breadth and depth of the Times video efforts. (Ms. Needleman said Kanye West, the magazine's latest cover subject, told her that his photo on the magazine's cover was a "work of art" and the "next frontier.")

But it was virtual reality where the Times put the most emphasis. At the end of the hour-long presentation, New York Times Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jake Silverstein shared the stage with director Chris Milk, whose production company produced a VR film about the making of this week's magazine cover. The standing-room crowd was invited to view the video using VR goggles. (You can see it on your mobile phone using the Vrse app.) Dozens of people gathered around the tables to take a look.

Mr. Silverstein said the Times editorial department is working on more VR projects.

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