Verizon Media, the content and media arm of the US telecom giant, has purchased the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) assets of startup Jaunt, according to TechCrunch. Jaunt, which had raised over $100 million in venture funding from backers including Disney and Axel Springer, will remain a separate company and retain its employees, while Verizon will acquire its technology including VR software and hardware development as well as its newer AR ventures.
The pricing for the asset purchase wasn’t disclosed, but Jaunt was laying off employees and auctioning office furniture last year, per TechCrunch, and declined to comment on whether the company would continue to operate.
Verizon has taken a number of steps to move its media business into the extended reality (XR) market. Here are three key examples.
- Its Huffington Post subsidiary acquired VR content studio Ryot in 2015. While the acquisition was primarily driven by the media needs of the Huffington Post, it’s since been incorporated more fully into Verizon Media’s wider strategy as the company looks to enable VR experiences for consumers using its growing 5G network.
- It also added AR advertising features to its Moments ad platform last month. Advertisers can create AR ads on Moments that allow consumers to interact with products in a 3D environment overlaid on the real world via a phone’s camera and screen. The Moments AR integration follows Verizon’s initial debut of AR on Yahoo Mail, which the company says led to unprecedented user engagement. Through this feature, the company is looking to reverse falling advertising revenue on its range of media properties.
- Verizon also operates its Envrmnt XR arm. The unit is looking to optimize the delivery of XR content to mobile devices and for transmission over cellular networks, including 5G, by providing edge-based APIs for developers to use in their programs for a range of use cases.
Now with the purchase of Jaunt’s assets, Verizon could take a leading role in the creation and distribution of XR content. The telecom’s primary competitor in the US wireless market, AT&T, has been taking major steps to expand on its traditional and streaming media content options with the purchases of DirecTV and Time Warner, which allow it to offer consumers a range of bundles with their mobile service. It’s also invested heavily in XR company Magic Leap, signing on as the startup’s sole US wireless provider.
Verizon, on the other hand, seems to be leaning more heavily on next-generation media options, judging the costs to expand into the media segments where AT&T is venturing to be too costly for the return they could provide. This strategy could put Verizon in a position to fill multiple niches in the media market, potentially providing customers with hardware to consume XR media, developers with platforms to create content, internal teams with the ability to make their own content, and all involved parties that have the means to deliver XR content from end to end.
Want to read more stories like this one? Here’s how to get access:
- Sign up for Connectivity & Tech Pro, Business Insider Intelligence’s expert product suite keeping you up-to-date on the people, technologies, trends, and companies shaping the future of connectivity, delivered to your inbox 6x a week. >> Get Started
- Join thousands of top companies worldwide who trust Business Insider Intelligence for their competitive research needs. >> Inquire About Our Corporate Memberships
- Explore related topics in more depth. >> Visit Our Report Store
- Current subscribers can log in to read the briefing here.