Figuring out ways to innovate print magazines in the digital era can be tough, but Sports Illustrated may have cracked the code with its latest attempt: a virtual reality viewer built into the magazine itself.
The Google Cardboard-style viewer is part of SI's 2016 Swimsuit Issue and, when combined with the SI Swimsuit Issue app, allows users to take an immersive trip to some of the tropical locales featuring the magazine's swimsuit models.
The SI-branded viewer, which lays flat in the magazine like any other insert, took about 10 minutes to put together and even came with tiny lenses. Once constructed, the viewer was actually pretty solid and worked as well as any Google Cardboard device.
But will readers want to go through the trouble of putting the VR viewer together? Well, if you're picking up the magazine's swimsuit issue, it's likely you're already motivated to see as much of the sometimes racy imagery as possible. And if you're really a fan of the ongoing series, the VR component doesn't disappoint.