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Viacom Labs' first projects focus on boosting fan interaction

The research and development unit will make use of both technology and artists-in-residence to keep TV watchers engaged.
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Lots of brands have R&D labs these days to try out concepts and strategies, like Sony's Future Lab that gets user input on product prototypes. Programming titan Viacom is no exception, with a new experimental department that focuses specifically on boosting fan interaction. Today it announced that Viacom Labs' first set of partners will includeAirBnB and GIPHY, along with a creators-in-residence program for artists to "explore ideas" with Viacom content.

The residence program's first lineup of artists includes neuroscientist Beau Lotto, who created the augmented reality platform Traces, and the multi-disciplinary Indian artist Raghava KK. While their contributions have yet to be defined, the general Labs projects aim to get fans closer to shows in more direct ways, from GIFs starring Viacom characters to experiences like an AirBnB-rentable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Lair in New York City. But it will also test new tech-driven storytelling concepts like livestreaming fans into shows.

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