Media Industry May Look to Virtual Reality
Can virtual reality turn into the next huge initiative for the media industry? The media industry has had a tough time of generating excitement amongst young people.
VR could possibly be the answer to the media industry’s need for change to generate excitement.
Every few years, new companies and technology arrive that have helped media companies in their attempt to generate excitement amongst millennials. News organizations have to take action. Digital advertising is growing, but not fast enough to keep up with the decline in traditional media advertising, particularly print news.
So here comes virtual reality, otherwise known as VR. VR is a type of technology that simulates a life-like experience for the user, whether that be through a concert, sports event or even some type of battle. It can supplement traditional reporting by going further then the where, what, why, who, etc. that you get from reading a website, watching TV or reading the newspaper.
The technology allows users to fully immerse themselves in a story.
Special headsets that make virtual reality feasible, are exciting to people that love experimenting new things – so that helps too.
Millennials are a crucial market for virtual reality considering lots of millennials are tech-savvy and more open to new technological experiences than people a bit older that may be more set on traditional ways.
Even so, that doesn’t mean all millennials will take in virtual reality with open arms, by any means.
John Feinberg, an underaged student at Stony Brook University, said, “The technology is still too new for a lot of people to get excited about, and there is also a price consideration. Maybe you can simulate going on a visit to IKEA, without leaving your home, but it’s not as easy to tell if (young) people are going to find this technology to be consumer-friendly.”
However, media companies tend to think very confidently that VR is going to be a game changer and will be widely accepted. New York Times CEO, Mark Thompson, said, “VR is already margin-positive for us. We’re making money out of VR. We expect to make money again in 2016.”
It’s not known as to exactly how the New York Times is utilizing VR, but the New York Times and other media outlets see VR as a way to enrich stories and go beyond boring text and simple photography.
Maybe Thompson is right, but one tech author thinks, not so fast.
Chunka Mui, the author of “The New Killer Apps.” said, “Virtual Reality is probably at about the same stage as when Reed Hastings first started experimenting with streaming media at Netflix – around the year 2000.” Reed Hastings is one of the founders and is the CEO of Netflix (NFLX).
Mui further added, “It took Hastings another 10 years before Netflix offered a commercial grade streaming-only option. The eventual winners (in VR) will be the ones that think big and start small now, and thus become the fastest learners. The learning cycles before technology is ready, and the market is ripe to determine the winner.”
Millennials aren’t the only type of people that media executives will need to win over.
Wall Street is another factor and they haven’t yet jumped into VR.
Porter Bibb, an analyst at Mediatech Capital Partners, said, “Virtual Reality will never become mainstream and won’t do much to slow down the desecration of old Media. It’s provided a great experience but will be relegated to the same status at 3D.”
Bibb is much more excited about another new form of technology. He said, “Much more likely to become the next huge consumer electronics is the voice-activated device that controls everything from TV, Internet and the entire Internet of Things.”
He thinks that Amazon’s Echo, which has made noise with this technology, faces obstacles from big companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple among “dozens of U.S. and Chinese companies to come up with competing products, which have the potential of equaling or exceeding smartphones.”
Media companies shouldn’t necessarily be trusted to predict which devices will take off. Just a couple years back, lots of people thought that Google Glass would be a huge success. Experts also said that Apple Watch would be gain lots of traction.
It’s important to note that the media was hoping Google Glass and the Apple Watch would take off as they thought it would help for relaying news and other information. Neither of these products took off though, which reiterates that the media companies and experts don’t really know whether or not VR will take off and help media companies or not.
There was a point in recent years that the tablet was supposed to be the next big thing to help change old media. However, consumers didn’t enable tablets to take hold of the marketplace.
Speaking more recently, “mobile” was the word used by media companies describing what could be the new way news is consumed. While mobile has been big, it hasn’t been a huge game changer.
Now, it’s time to see if virtual reality will be that new huge game changer that will take the old media industry and bring it new life and excitement while capturing many new fans.