YouTube to release new VR series from National Geographic

National Geographic Channel

YouTube is adding some more strings to its VR bow, with a trio of National Geographic TV series set to be released on the online streaming platform.

The series kick off this month with The Okavango Experience, which follows a documentary team through the Okavango Delta river in northern Botswana in Africa.

The first five-minute episode will commence on December 11, and will be available through National Geographic's own website and YouTube channel, or via the Google Daydream VR app.

Successive episodes (2-4) will then release every Tuesday throughout the rest of the month, while the other two VR series – the subjects of which are as yet unannounced – are expected to be launched in 2019.

Jenna Pirog, Senior Director of Video & Immersive Experiences at National Geographic, spoke of a "long-term partnership" with YouTube, with the aim of "marrying immersive technology with impactful storytelling". 

Free* viewing

YouTube is a prime example of the free content model, using a host of in-page and mid-stream advertisements to fund the platform.

The streaming website currently offers a paid-for subscription that removes ads from videos and offers access to a host of YouTube Originals content: whether TV series like Cobra Kai or documentaries like Kedi.

YouTube is, however, planning to offer free, ad-supported versions of all its Originals programming next year, in a bid to attract more viewers to its budding production arm. The site has also started adding full-length movies for free viewing – given the amount of films being uploaded illegally to site by users, offering more official alternatives may be a smart move.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.