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Embracing the 'Future,' Discovery Goes All-In on Virtual Reality

Taps Mythbusters, Gold Rush stars to launch VR platform

Discovery Communications' virtual reality debut includes a Mythbusters' shark dive. Discovery

Discovery Communications said in May that virtual reality is "like seeing the future." Now, it's more like seeing the present.

The company announced today it has launched its virtual-reality platform, Discovery VR.

"Discovery Communications has long innovated by bringing together emerging technologies with a keen focus on quality content and storytelling, and Discovery VR is a natural and powerful extension of our commitment to aggressively pursuing new horizons," said Conal Byrne, svp, digital media for Discovery Communications, in a statement. "Virtual reality has the power to immerse fans in the action, and we look forward to telling stories in this new space like never before."

Discovery VR's initial offerings include nine short-form experiences with talent from Discovery, Science Channel and Discovery Digital Networks:

  • Mythbusters Shark Drive: As a lead up to Discovery's Shweekend—the network will air new Shark Week programming to bookend the summer after moving Shark Week to early July this year—the Mythbusters team created three VR experiences including exploring shipwrecks and "feeding frenzies" in the Bahamas.
  • Pay Dirt: A VR version of Discovery's Gold Rush, which shifts the perspective from gold miners to that of a digger that the team uses to mine.
  • How to Survive in the Wild: Survivorman's Les Stroud dons a VR rig and embarks on an "off-the-grid trek."
  • Adventure: This VR content includes freeboarding down San Francisco's curvy Lombard Street and a virtual surfing lesson with pro surfer and Discovery Digital talent Kyle Thiermann.
  • Planet: Discovery VR's Planet section features looks at the Redwood Forest and Half Moon Bay. 

Discovery VR is available at DiscoveryVR.com, through the Discovery VR iOS and Android apps, the Samsung Milk VR premium video service and network YouTube channels. Littlstar is powering the Discovery VR apps and website-player technology.

The company teased its virtual-reality push at Discovery Digital's NewFronts presentation in May. "This is one of our most innovative moves in the next year—period—across the company," Byrne said at the time. "We believe VR will fundamentally change the way that fans connect with your content. When you experience VR, it is like seeing the future. It is digital media at its very best."

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