Viacom and NYC Media Lab Launch Music + VR Fellowship to Create New Fan Experiences in Virtual Reality

Fellows will draw from Viacom's extensive music library to build VR prototypes

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Thursday, June 8, 2017 10:08 am EDT

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NEW YORK

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VIAB
NASDAQ:
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NEW YORK -- Viacom’s emerging entertainment technology group, Viacom NEXT, in partnership with NYC Media Lab, launched this week the 2017 Viacom Music + VR Fellowship to encourage the development of premier music-based virtual reality content for audiences. Recruited from universities in the NYC Media Lab consortium, six graduate and undergraduate student fellows will work to produce individual VR experiences centered on a piece of music from Viacom’s library. Now in its second year, the eight-week program runs from June to August, and culminates in a showcase at Viacom’s headquarters in New York where the fellows’ experiences will be demoed live.

“Viacom is working to pioneer original VR content that transforms fan and artist engagement in music, said Mac Lotze, Virtual Reality Producer at Viacom NEXT and co-leader of the fellowship program. “We’re excited to welcome these creative young talents to Viacom and continue exploring the amazing potential of this medium with them.”

“We are thrilled to continue our work with Viacom this summer and push the boundaries of what’s possible with virtual reality storytelling,” said Justin Hendrix, Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. “As virtual and augmented reality technologies advance, the ability to quickly produce high quality experiences will grow more important for media corporations.”

Fellows will be mentored by Viacom executives and industry innovators while enjoying access to Viacom’s advanced media and technology services, including VR-ready computer systems, the HTC Vive headset and other head-mounted displays. Program participants were chosen based on their diverse backgrounds, talent and expertise in art, technology and design. The 2017 class of fellows are: Corey Bertelsen, NYU Game Center; Danny Dang, Parsons School of Design BFA Design & Technology; Juan Jose Egúsquiza, NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program; Or Fleisher, NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program; Mikei Huang, Parsons School of Design MFA Design & Technology; and Chao Jin, NYU Game Center.

The 2016 fellowship produced five unique VR experiences, and of the first cohort, two of the fellows were invited to stay on staff at Viacom NEXT to continue shaping its leadership in the industry. At the Microsoft Build conference in May, Viacom NEXT premiered innovative music experience Withdrawal featuring recording Atlantic Records artist Max Frost. It is the latest project of Viacom’s in-house VR production team, which partners with the company’s entertainment brands, including MTV and Paramount Pictures, to deliver original experiences for branded content and live events. Other original productions include Hot Sugar’s The Melody of Dust, which premiered at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival, Chocolate by award-winning animator Tyler Hurd, and Smash Party VR, a game released for the HTC Vive headset.

About Viacom NEXT

Viacom NEXT is working on the future of entertainment. We explore, prototype and develop novel projects with our brands (which include MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures and BET) and with external partners including startups, academics (e.g., MIT, CMU, and major NYC universities via the NYC Media Lab) as well as creators, artists, and musicians. With a focus on Virtual Reality, we are making room-scale interactive music experiences, narrative worlds, games, and exploring live-action capture techniques. Visit us online at http://viacomnext.com

About NYC Media Lab

NYC Media Lab connects digital media and technology companies with New York City's universities to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and talent development. A public-private partnership launched by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, NYC Media Lab funds prototyping projects that foster collaboration across a range of disciplines core to the future of media and runs The Combine, an early stage accelerator for emerging media and technology startups. Learn more: http://nycmedialab.org/

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Contact:

For Viacom:
Alex Rindler, (212) 846-4337
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
alex.rindler@viacom.com

For NYC Media Lab:
Alexis Avedisian, (406) 636-1208
Communications Manager
alexis@nycmedialab.org

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