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HBO, Discovery Buy Stakes in OTOY

OTOY said HBO and Discovery Communications have taken equity stakes in the company as the programmers look to push ahead with plans to create and publish original holographic content that can be distributed across TV, Web, mobile and augmented reality and virtual reality platforms.  

They did not disclose the amount of the investments.

OTOY’s advisory board includes Dr. Eric Schmidt (executive chairman of Google's new parent company, Alphabet), Samuel J. Palmisano (former chairman, CEO and president of IBM), Ariel Emanuel (co-CEO, WME | IMG) and noted economist George Gilder. Major shareholders include Autodesk and Yuri Milner.

Los Angeles-based OTOY, whose advisory board includes Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of new Google parent company Alphabet, is currently working with Jon Stewart on the development of upcoming content for HBO built using its platform. In November, Stewart announced a four-year exclusive deal with HBO, with the initial aim to create short-form digital content for platforms such as HBO Now and HBO Go.

“OTOY is unbelievable! It’s a limitless mind blowing creative platform,” Stewart said, in a statement. “My dream is to someday understand how they did it!!!”

“HBO prides itself on being at the forefront of entertainment, both in the exceptional content we produce, and in the ways we bring that content to consumers,” said Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming, in a statement. “OTOY has a roadmap for the future of entertainment and technology. Their creativity and drive perfectly aligns with HBO’s. We couldn’t be more excited to invest in OTOY and to work together on original content and amazing experiences for years to come.”

“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,” added Paul Guyardo, chief commercial officer at Discovery Communications.

“The future of media and entertainment is not going to be constrained by a screen, nor consumed through monolithic apps or platforms,” said Jules Urbach, founder and CEO, OTOY. “OTOY’s mission is to make holographic and immersive content a mass market proposition for consumers, artists and publishers alike. A key part of this endeavor is unifying production and delivery of content across all possible endpoints, from HTML5, to TV and social, to wearables. With HBO and Discovery as strategic investors and content publishing partners, we couldn’t be more excited to work together to map out the future of entertainment.”