Virtual Reality, eSports Grab Disney’s Attention

Disney’s Accelerator program ties industry start-ups with investors and studio executives
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New virtual reality tech, a holographic content platform and an idea for connecting advertisers with eSports talent were among the results of Disney’s 2016 Accelerator program, which partners industry start-ups with investors and studio executives.

The results of the three-month program for 10 start-up companies were shared during a recent demo day at the studio. It’s the third year of the program, with the 2016 version seeing involvement by Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger, and executives from Disney-ABC Television Group, ESPN, Lucasfilm and Marvel.

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"Technology and innovation are at the heart of every experience at The Walt Disney Company, and Disney Accelerator puts us on the ground floor with some of the most promising startups in the world through a program aimed at accelerating the future of media and entertainment," said Kevin Mayer, senior executive VP and chief strategy officer for The Walt Disney Company, in a statement.

Among the noteworthy results:

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• Disney helped Ader, a digital marketplace that connects advertisers with eSports talent, build a pilot program with Maker Studios, and put Ader and ESPN together to bring eSports talent to ESPN.com for a 2017 eSports industry program.

• VR company Jaunt will license Disney Research’s VR video technology and will integrate Disney Research into Jaunt’s VR cloud services. Jaunt is also working with ESPN to film NCAA football’s College GameDays in VR.

• For holographic content platform, OTOY new ORBX media player is allowing several studio-owned sites, including Disney.com, Marvel.com, ABC.com, ABCNews.com and ESPN.com, to be viewed in Oculus Social and Samsung’s web browser for Gear VR.

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