• USA Today Network is producing the first-ever branded weekly virtual reality show slated to run Thursdays at 2 pm Eastern on the USA Today app, VR Stories app and YouTube.com/VRtuallyThere according to a company press release.
  • Toyota is the brand sponsor for the show called VRtually There.
  • The car maker will feature the first “cubemercial,” what Kevin Gentzel, USA Today Network’s chief revenue officer, described as “a showcase of our pioneering effort in building an ad standard in VR.”

After years of promises, virtual reality is approaching critical mass. Technology, computing power and cost is catching up with the hype, in part because of investment from tech giants like Google, Facebook and Samsung. Publishers and marketers alike had to be heartened with Juniper Research’s recent report that found VR hardware sales might hit $50 billion by 2021. By producing this VR news show, USA Today is giving the tech a thumbs up and Toyota is taking the plunge on the brand side with its sponsorship.

“We believe in creating amazing experiences for our guests, so we’re excited to help launch USA Today Network’s innovative VR show, bringing incredible virtual reality experiences to its audience. The Network’s approach to bold storytelling and use of new mediums aligns with our brand and our creative approach for the new 2017 Toyota Camry,” Lisa McQueen, Media Manager for Toyota Motor Sales, Inc., said in the release.

About the show, Joanne Lipman, USA Today’s chief content officer pointed to the innovative storytelling possibilities of VR news and said the media company’s in-house VR production is unique to the industry.