Attendees at New Video Frontiers (London, October 22nd) will hear about how virtual reality will transform advertising, while also getting the chance to experience it for themselves firsthand. AKQA, the event’s virtual reality sponsor, will be bringing along two Oculus Rift sets for people to try out.
However, some might wonder why we’re showcasing virtual reality — a technology more commonly associated with gaming — at an event about the future of video and TV advertising? Here’s why — from the very beginning, the goal of New Video Frontiers was to provide at least some insight into the future of the video and TV industry. For the most part, this conversation has focused on digital and programmatic disruption. However, while the Internet has transformed the face of media in many respects, whether it’s through social functionality or through programmatic trading, for the most part the core of the consumer experience has remained much the same. Video is video, whether watched on a mobile phone, tablet or on TV, audio is audio whether it’s on national radio or on a podcast, and an article is an article whether written in a newspaper or on a blog.
However, virtual reality is different and has the potential to reinvent media experiences in a way that might be compared to the introduction of the ‘talkies’ — the first films with sounds — in Paris in 1900. This is a whole new medium, and one that will not only be useful for games, but also for more immersive movies and TV experiences, for business and social uses (being able to ‘meet’ in virtual spaces), and of course for advertising.
Will it kill the radio star, the TV star, or the online video star? Most certainly not. But will virtual reality deliver experiences to people that are far more intense, more exciting and more immersive than anything that has gone before? Yes, it most certainly will. And that’s the opportunity. Engagement no longer has to equate to someone faffing around on a website or liking a page. One day Sky (who recently invested in Jaunt, a company working on cinematic VR experiences) will be able to make you feel like you’re sitting in the football ground, Pepsi will be able to give Beyonce fans the chance to dance with her ‘live’ on stage, and Mercedes will be able to give you the chance to check out a car thousands of miles from a dealership.
The entertainment and advertising potential in massive and represents a huge oppportunity. We look forward to seeing you in London so you can experience it for yourself, and to hear how AKQA Creative Director Resh Sidhu has used VR in her work for auto clients in Japan.