Channel 4 has taken a minority stake in new British virtual reality (VR) business Parable.
Parable is co-founded by former director of programmes at The Garden Productions, David Wise and former president of Economist Films, Nicholas Minter-Green.
C4 is joined as launch investors by Stephen Lambert, chief executive of Studio Lambert, who has been appointed chairman of Parable, and the global media group The Economist. The Economist deputy editor and tech expert, Tom Standage, joins the board as a non-executive director.
Launched this month, Parable plans to create VR and 360° content across the entertainment, brand marketing and training sectors.
This latest investment from the Indie Growth Fund, headed up by Laura Franses, expands the Fund’s portfolio into VR for the first time.
Parable’s team also includes TV director and editor Jonathan Rudd, who joins as partner and creative director.
Parable have already completed two 360° documentaries for The Economist with Blancpain.
The global VR market is currently valued around £800m* and is expected to grow to nearly £100bn by 2020** with the technology increasingly being explored by traditional business sectors across the UK.
David Abraham, chief executive at Channel 4 said: “We’ve been watching the VR and AR 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.”
Stephen Lambert, chair of Parable said: “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, which is why I’m delighted to be involved in this new business as its non-exec chairman."
C4’s £20m Indie Growth Fund has now invested in thirteen UK-based businesses comprising of: Arrow International Media, Barcroft Media Group, Eleven Film, Firecrest Films, Lightbox Media, Popkorn Media, Renowned Films, Spelthorne Community Television, The RightsXchange (TRX), True North Productions, Voltage TV Productions and Whisper Films.
Last month Channel 4 made its first full exit from an Indie Growth Fund investment when True North Productions was acquired by Sky.
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