Sports Illustrated has released its 2016 Swimsuit issue and, with it, a new smartphone app which includes a virtual reality component. To allow customers to view the VR videos, 500,000 magazines come with Quad/Graphics' QVR virtual reality goggles.
The annual SI Swimsuit issue is the biggest single seller of the magazine reaching 70 million adults, according to Time Inc.
Lexus is the launch sponsor for the new app, but there are no ads in the VR experience itself.
Former cover models, Nina Agdal, Hannah Davis and Irina Shayk were filmed on location in the Dominican Republic for the VR footage.
Available on both Android and iOS platforms, the new app features five pieces of VR content for free, including an introductory video, a “sizzle reel” and one video featuring each of the models. Subscribers get access to an additional six videos.
On newsstands, the premium edition costs $9.99, which is $2 more than the standard version. Meanwhile, SIsubscribers have to pay $2.99 each if they want to get one of the special headsets; nonsubscribers have to pay $4.99.
Earlier this week, SI group publisher Brendan Ripp told Folio: sister site min that the print edition remains, “ the scepter of our multi-platform franchise.”
VR has become a huge trend in consumer technology during the past 12 months, and it’s poised to grow even more this year as products such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift is launched. And last year, a similar VR headset was shipped to 1 million print subscribers of the New York Times.
Correction: A previous version of the story identified the VR goggles accompanying the swimsuit issue as Google Cardboard. They are in fact QVR goggles from Quad/Graphics.