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CNN launches global VR journalism unit and new 360-degree mobile content

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Image: CNN via Variety

CNN is the latest news organization to push into virtual reality. The broadcaster has announced a new unit dedicated to the medium, CNNVR, which includes correspondents in 12 cities around the world . As part of the move, the company will be adding more 360-degree video content to its iOS and Android apps, with a first story published this week covering the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

CNN vice president Jason Farkas told Variety that VR would be a “third layer” of content for CNN, after TV and digital. Farkas said that CNNVR would give viewers access “to places that are incredibly rare,” and that the medium would foster empathy between viewers and the subject. “That’s what all journalists want to do — to leave a lasting impact,” said Farkas.

CNN’s new VR strategy
Image: CNN

The 360-degree content will be natively viewable on CNN’s mobile apps, and accessible on certain VR headsets and platforms, including Samsung’s Gear VR, Google Daydream, and the Oculus Rift. According to TechCrunch, the company also wants to highlight live-streaming VR content in future.

CNN isn’t the only broadcaster to experiment with VR, of course. The Huffington Post, the Economist, and The New York Times have all created their own 360-degree video content in the past year. However, whether or not the format is proving popular with consumers is trickier to tell.