VR evolves with live streaming, interactive movie ad
- Facebook is allowing users of its virtual reality (VR) social hangout feature Facebook Spaces to broadcast through its Facebook Live video streaming feature, per Variety.
- Facebook Live and Facebook Spaces are integrated via a virtual camera that captures actions possible in Spaces such as looking at regular and 350-degree videos, drawing with virtual markers and bringing Messenger users into conversations through video calls. Through Facebook Live, Spaces users can interact with audiences using comments like with regular Live broadcasts.
- In related news, Lionsgate and Unity Technologies partnered to release what is described as the first-of-its-kind VR ad for the release of "Jigsaw," the latest installment in the film studio's "Saw" horror film series, according to a joint press release.
Together, these two developments show how VR continues to evolve beyond a strict gaming approach to offer a variety of ways for consumers and brands to participate in immersive experiences even as the space continues to show sluggish overall growth. Integrating Spaces into Facebook Live dramatically expands the potential audience to viewers with mobile screens or desktop browsers. Otherwise Facebook Spaces participants have to own an Oculus Rift VR headset to interact within the feature.
Allowing Facebook Spaces users to broadcast their experiences — and maybe even VR talk shows as suggested by the Variety report — to all viewers on Facebook Live should make Spaces more interesting for its users as well as serve as a demonstration on the VR experience for an audience that might have never actually seen VR technology in action.
Facebook made a big bet on VR technology with its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Rift in 2014, but as one of the higher-priced and processor intensive VR headset options available, the headset has had limited appeal. Facebook dropped the price of an Oculus Rift bundle by 30% in March to boost sales and then again this month.
To date, much of the brand activity in VR has been around creating immersive content experiences. Advertising options for VR have been limited but appear to be starting to ramp up. In addition to the "Jigsaw" example, Google's startup incubator program Area 120 is working on a way to allow video ads to run in 3-D and VR environments.
The "Jigsaw" ad uses a Virtual Room format that will surface in any existing VR apps made with Unity. Players will be able to interact with objects as they learn about the film. The ad, which was created to meet the Interactive Advertising Bureau's emerging ad experience guidelines, will be launch in the fall.
The Facebook integration of VR and live streaming also brings new and unique, content to Facebook Live at a time when Facebook is expanding its video offerings, from user generated to professional scripted shows.
- Variety Facebook Brings Live Video Broadcasting to Social VR
- Marketing Dive Facebook splits Oculus into 2 teams as VR tech accelerates
- Marketing Dive Facebook is starting to pitch marketers on the idea of VR campaigns
- Business Wire Unity Technologies Partners with Lionsgate to Create First-of-its-Kind Interactive Virtual Reality Advertisement for Upcoming Theatrical Film Release of Jigsaw