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HBO and Discovery Communications get into VR with 3D graphics firm Otoy

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart, shown during a 2011 taping of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” is working with 3D graphics firm Otoy to develop short-form digital content for HBO.  Discovery Communications and HBO announced Tuesday they’ve acquired equity stakes in Otoy. 

(Brad Barket / Associated Press)

HBO and Discovery Communications are getting a virtual reality check. 

The TV companies have taken equity stakes in the 3D graphics company Otoy. As part of the investment announced Tuesday, the TV companies will develop and distribute original holographic content across television, mobile, web, social and virtual reality and augmented wearable devices. 

The announcement underscores the ongoing interest in the VR sector. Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have rolled out their own VR content. 

L.A.-based Otoy is working with Jon Stewart to develop short-form digital content for HBO, as part of his four-year deal with the TV company. Stewart, in a statement, called Otoy a “limitless mind-blowing creative platform.”

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Financial terms of HBO and Discovery’s investments in Otoy were not disclosed.

“Otoy has a roadmap for the future of entertainment and technology. Their creativity and drive perfectly aligns with HBO’s” said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming. 

Paul Guyardo, Discovery’s chief commercial officer, said, “Otoy technology is a massive breakthrough, and we look forward to seeing it take VR and AR experiences, including Discovery VR, to a whole new level.”

Otoy’s technology has been featured in such films as “Spider-Man 3,” “Fantastic Four” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

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Other major investors include Autodesk and Digital Sky Technologies. The company’s advisory board includes Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of WME/IMG; Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet; Sam Palmisano, former chairman, CEO and president of IBM; and economist George Gilder.

I tweet about TV (and other things) here: @villarrealy

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