Press Release: Time Inc. Launches "LIFE VR" Multi-Platform Virtual Reality Brand
(NEW YORK, NY) September 20, 2016 -- LIFE VR, Time Inc.’s (NYSE:TIME) dedicated virtual reality platform featuring next-level storytelling from Time Inc.’s global brands, launches today. An extension of the historic and beloved LIFE brand, at launch the LIFE VR slate features immersive experiences including: “Defying the Nazis,” the VR companion to the new Ken Burns PBS documentary; “Fast Ride” from The Drive, which puts you in the passenger seat of one of the world’s fastest cars; and “LUMEN” a nonlinear interactive experience that helps users de-stress in minutes. LIFE VR, which is operated under the auspices of Time, The Foundry and Time Inc. Studios, will house all virtual reality content from Time Inc. brands.
“LIFE VR elevates Time Inc.’s iconic storytelling capabilities to new levels, creating powerful engagements and immersive experiences for our audiences, showing them the world in a whole new way,” said Chris Hercik, SVP Content + Creative, The Foundry @ Time Inc. “Virtual reality is an exciting new tool in content creation that allows Time Inc. to push the boundaries of this leading-edge technology as an entertainment and news medium in both creative development and methods of distribution.”
LIFE VR will launch as a free, standalone app for iOS and Android, with its programming distributed across all channels where VR is available, including a dedicated mobile app for Cardboard, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus. LIFE VR will also make 360-degree video available on desktop and mobile web, across Time Inc. websites and at Time.com/LifeVR and TheDrive.com at launch, as a precursor to a larger 360-degree video effort from Time Inc., which will be formally launched later in the fall.
"We are proud of the innovation and collaboration across Time Inc. that helped bring LIFE VR to fruition. Today, we are launching with very powerful and distinct experiences, setting the tone for what our viewers can expect on an ongoing basis from LIFE VR. We have an aggressive editorial road map and live experiences planned for LIFE VR, which will represent the best traditions of this iconic brand,” said Mia Tramz, Managing Editor for LIFE VR.
- Time Presents: “Defying the Nazis” -- The VR companion to the Ken Burns documentary “Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War” premiering tonight on PBS. This powerful and emotional experience allows viewers to see and hear what it was like to leave Nazi France and travel on a boat from Portugal with Martha Sharp as she rescued children seeking asylum in America. Viewers are taken on the voyage across the Atlantic and can hear the range of emotions in the survivors’ voices, including the joy of reaching safety. The piece uses voice-overs and archival photos from the documentary to create a full CG VR experience. “Defying the Nazis VR” is produced by VR Playhouse in association with Artemis Joukowsky and Farm Pond Pictures and directed by Elijah Allan-Blitz. LIFE VR is the exclusive distributor.
- “LUMEN, a LIFE VR Original.” -- Relax and calm yourself in minutes while exploring the wonders of a bioluminescent forest with LUMEN, a self-guided, nonlinear meditation rooted at the intersection of virtual reality and wellness. This VR experience begins with a short breathing exercise, then places you in a luminous multicolored woodland where you'll use your headset gaze to interact with the sights and sounds of your environment -- and de-stress in the process. You'll stimulate tree growth, choose a hue from the sky's breathtaking aurora display to customize your tranquil setting, and navigate the splendor of a lush forest floor—giving colorful life to the dark and sparse landscape. The soothing soundtrack, created by composer Peter Timberlake, evolves with your every interaction. LUMEN was created in collaboration with VR Neuroscience Advisor Walter Greenleaf, PhD Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab, and Framestore's VR Studio. At Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, Dr. Greenleaf -- alongside pediatric cardiologist Anne Dubin, MD, and child and adolescent psychiatrist Lauren Schneider, PsyD -- will be evaluating how LUMEN can help children who are undergoing difficult surgical procedures. The experience is just the tip of the interactive iceberg when it comes to the power of harnessing VR to better your life. LUMEN is available for Windows on Steam for the HTC Vive, and through the LIFE VR mobile app for iOS and Android.
- “Fast Ride,” from The Drive by LIFE VR -- The Mazda 787 is one of the most coveted race cars ever made. The first and only Japanese racer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it has an R26B rotary engine so loud and remarkable it must be heard -- and experienced -- to be believed. “Fast Ride” puts viewers in the cockpit of the 787 to run a lap at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The result is flat-out fantastic at 9,000 rpms. “Fast Ride” is produced by Wevr.
LIFE VR 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 that take viewers inside the photo shoots of former cover models on location.
About Time Inc.
Time Inc. is one of the world's leading media companies, with a monthly global print audience of over 120 million and worldwide digital properties that attract more than 150 million visitors each month, including over 60 websites. Our influential brands include People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Time, Real Simple and Southern Living, as well as more than 50 diverse titles in the United Kingdom.