The UK’s Channel 4 and Studio Lambert founder Stephen Lambert are investing in a new start-up focused on virtual reality (VR) content.
C4’s Growth Fund initiative, launched in 2014, is investing in VR business Parable alongside Lambert and The Economist.
Launched this month, Parable was co-founded by David Wise, who was previously director of programmes at ITV-owned prodco The Garden, and former Economist Films president Nicholas Minter-Green.
The company aims to create 360° VR content in the entertainment, brand marketing and training sectors.
It’s the first investment in VR from C4, which has taken a minority stake in the business. Lambert has been appointed Parable chairman and The Economist deputy editor and tech expert Tom Standage has joined the company’s board as non-executive director.
The fledgling Parable team also includes television director and film editor Jonathan Rudd, who has come on board as partner and creative director. Rudd has previously worked on docudramas Stockwell for ITV and The Great British Blackout for Nat Geo.
Two 360° documentaries have already been completed for The Economist and advanced conversations are taking place with broadcasters and on-screen talent.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but C4 has invested the most money of the three.
C4 CEO David Abraham said: “We’ve been watching the VR and [augmented reality] markets with interest as they move away from their Silicon Valley roots and increasingly attract the attention of media owners and brands.
“Parable are storytellers first and foremost and present a great opportunity for our Indie Growth Fund to work with a talented team with a bold ambition to break into this exciting new sector.”
Lambert added: “Virtual reality is the most exciting technological media development of the next few years, but its success hangs or falls on creating great content. I know David and Nicky well and I have no doubt they will quickly establish themselves as a leading global supplier of engaging, innovative VR content.”