The Casper-Star Tribune: Bringing 360° Video to Local News

Jun 20, 2018

Article ImageCompany: The Casper Star-Tribune

Located in central Wyoming, Casper is a city of just under 60,000. If you live there, you are probably familiar with The Casper Star-Tribune. According to its website, “When you combine your advertising in the Casper Star-Tribune newspaper with, your message will reach 80% of the market.”

Business Challenge

Like a lot of community newspapers, The Casper Star-Tribune still has a devoted audience. But unlike some smaller market newspapers, The Trib (as it’s affectionately known) team wants to position their paper as a leader when it comes to readers’ digital experience. That meant embracing 360° video.

Vendor of Choice: OmniVirt

OmniVirt is a VR/AR ad platform for brands, publishers, and developers. Customers include The New York Times, Red Bull, and Netflix.

The Problem in Depth

There wasn’t a problem, per se, for The Casper Star-Tribune. In this case, the team simply wanted to be proactive when it came to keeping up with technology. “We needed to add another level of interactivity to our ads. We see where consumer trends are headed and want to be leaders within this space,” says Sean Johnson, the ad director of The Casper Star-Tribune. Once the decision was made to pursue this latest platform, Johnson moved quickly.

In fact, The Trib team has already done its due diligence on 360° technology by the time they found their vendor of choice. “Our team takes pride in being digital experts and we knew 360° video was already being deployed or in the pipeline for national agencies or other media companies. In 2017, we started alpha testing different cameras, equipment, and AR/360° solutions and once we found the right partner in OmniVirt, we approached our real estate and auto advertisers.”

The Solution

Ara Parikh, product marketing manager at OmniVirt, says Johnson, “reached out to us directly to ask about integrating interactive 360° ads to serve on the Casper Star-Tribune property. We worked with large publishers like The New York Times to power their 360° ad inventory and were excited to see that publishers of a different size were interested in immersive ad offerings, too.” 

The time spent investing in 360° paid off. “Sean used our self-service platform. Users simply upload their 360° creative, add hotspots using our platform (designed for non-technical folks--it really just takes clicking where in the content you want to place a hotspot and then selecting from a menu of options what you want the hotspot to do), and then use our embed code to place in their site,” says Parikh. “The process could take just a few minutes if you know the creative you'd like!”

Johnson agrees that OmniVirt’s platform is easy to use. It was, in fact, a big selling point. “We were able to successfully launch a test campaign on our O&O website via DFP within minutes,” says Johnson. “That sold it for me. Also, they have a very easy to use self-service platform that allows my fulfillment team to deploy a campaign without trouble.”

The Outcome

Realtors have taken to 360° ads, not just at The Casper Star-Tribune. The technology allows prospective buyers to virtually walk through a property.

Of course, when you’re in the business of offering 360° ads to your advertisers, you are also (often) in the business of creating those ads. Johnson says, “We will go onsite, with our advertiser, and shoot the video. We’ve found that tours/walkthroughs are the most engaging for consumers so we’ve recently been utilizing the hotspot feature within the OmniVirt platform.”

Now, The Trib is working on expanding its offerings. “We are launching a ‘Take The Wheel’ campaign with a local auto dealer very soon,” says Johnson. But The Trib isn’t stopping there. “We’ll also be applying 360° video to our native content pieces. This will be first applied to concerts and venues. So when a band comes to town, our audience can now have a backstage pass like never before!”

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