The past week saw a run of big announcements that are edging 360 video ever closer to the mainstream, and giving fans and creators of immersive content plenty of reason for excitement.
In no particular order:
1. Facebook released Facebook 360, a dedicated social app for discovering, watching and organizing 360 video. [via TechCrunch]
2. CNN announced the creation of CNNVR, a news unit dedicated to immersive 360 video journalism, with correspondents based in 12 cities around the world. CNN will distribute 360 content on their iOS and Android mobile apps (they say this makes their app the world’s third largest VR mobile app, after Facebook and YouTube), on desktop at CNN.com/VR, and on all major VR headsets.
CNN VP Jason Farkas said CNNVR represents the company’s third major content push, along with television and digital. [via Variety]
3. We heard that the Windows 10 Creators update, tipped for an April release, will offer native support for 360 video in Microsoft’s Movies and TV app, giving tens of millions of users a handy avenue for exploring 360 content. [via TechRadar]
4. Netflix shared its plans to create choose-your-own-adventure-style shows. It’s not reported to be 360-degree content, but if this style of entertainment catches on, it would likely be on a collision course with storytelling forms that give viewers even greater choice – like where to look. Netflix has experimented with 360 before, and the recent news shows it’s willing to try bold ideas to keep its roughly 100 million members engaged.
When people have abundant choice for both big-budget, auteur-driven 360 content, and wildcard user-generated fare on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, the form will be on firm footing. [via The Telegraph]
5. Vimeo joined the ranks of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in offering support for 360 video. Setting Vimeo apart from those other platforms, though, is the fact that it offers more options for independent creators to make money off of their VR content. When talented filmmakers get paid for advancing a new art form, the viewer – and the culture – wins.
“Right now, it is expensive and time-consuming to make 360 video. Most [people] can only do it when they’re working with big brands,” said Anjali Sud, senior vice president and general manager of Vimeo’s Creator Platform. “Content is the missing piece that would take immersive stories from nascent to mainstream.” [via CNET]
With all this new investment in 360 video, it’s clear that traditional and new media alike have gotten word that there’s gold to be had in 360 and VR content.
We’ll leave it to the experts – the creators – to go dig it up.
Anyway, we’re a little busy working on this new pickaxe.