Why VR tech serves as an ideal alternative to TV and how monetization opportunities abound

The growth of virtual reality is guaranteed to have a transformational influence on the live entertainment industry. Offering a distinctive experience far beyond attending a concert, show or sports game, virtual reality technology provides a standout option to live entertainment enthusiasts everywhere. Below are three examples of how virtual reality will alter how we view, enjoy and engage in live entertainment.

NOTE: For anyone interested in designing games and learning how to leverage the latest VR technology, check out the Game Development Course starting March 3rd at DaVinci Coders.

1) The Best Seat in the House

Virtual reality doesn’t physically take you to an event, but it mentally brings you there. Across today’s popular entertainment venues, there are only so many front row seats at a sporting event or concert, and these tickets are continuously increasing in price. With virtual reality technology, more fans can have that front row experience. The specialized 3-D 360-degree technology offers a view that being in the audience could never buy – placing cameras in locations beyond a front row experience (i.e. under the basketball hoop, in the end zone, etc.) – and gives the user the feeling of being in a special place.

Virtual reality provides a whole new medium. Whereas Hollywood movies have to be 72 minutes to be considered a theatrical film, virtual reality doesn’t have these restrictions. In fact, viewers have the opportunity to do so much more, such as meeting the actors and actresses “in-person” – an opportunity that few others have had the chance to do.

Developing a character is also a different concept in virtual reality. Storytelling traditionally has a beginning, middle and end, and you are able to engage the audience by choosing what they can view. However, with virtual reality, you want users to turn around or look behind them, so it offers a new perspective and allows them to develop their own unique stories. Users can tell their own stories depending on where they look and create their own beginning, middle and end. Filmmakers and content creators will have incredible new ways to influence the audience experience too, since they’re now able to connect with audiences from every possible angle as if the user was in the center of a theater-in-the-round.

NOTE: On Feb 5, 2014, the DaVinci Institute will be hosting a free interactive VR event where you will learn about and experience Oculus Rift and GearVR first hand. Details here.

2) An Alternative to Television

People are watching less and less television these days due to ever changing technology providing over-the-top content, online video and more. While television will not be gone any time soon, virtual reality gives viewers another way to get excited about sports and live events and offer them an exclusive way to become engaged. Virtual reality provides the ability to teleport viewers to different areas of the sports arena or concert hall, and virtual features such as a personal club box allows you to experience the event with your friends. The possibilities are limitless.

When asking viewers what they see when using a virtual reality device, they say, “I was at ___” or “I did ___,” clearly articulating a feeling of presence and active engagement as opposed to being a passive onlooker. Television fails at providing this interactive experience; therefore, as virtual reality develops, more interactive components will be added to the user experience to fully immerse consumers. The technology provides the opportunity to offer additional content from an event, such as interviews in the locker room or scenes not normally shown at a typical event. Imagine the fan experiences that virtual reality can deliver, which have never been available through any other medium.

3) New Opportunity for Monetization

Virtual reality will be a boon for sport teams, production companies and concert promoters too. It will provide supplementary revenue models for both sports and other live events. As the virtual reality industry matures, brands will be able to leverage advertisement banners in sports arenas based on regional demographics, catering to specific target audiences. Integrating ads in live feeds leads to more effective advertising vs. watching a game on television. Interactive games and merchandising pages can also further boost revenue by allowing fans to swipe through pages to view the ads that interest them.

In addition, virtual reality provides a great method for people to view a game or concert when the event is sold out. In fact, most fans do not live near an arena, so attending games for their favorite team is difficult and often expensive. Virtual reality brings the game to the viewers and gives brands and teams an opportunity for revenue expansion due to the targeted advertising they are now viewing with this added experience. It offers new ways for brands, athletes and artists to reach current fans and connect across borders.

Article by: DJ Roller-the co-founder of Laguna Beach, CA-based NextVR

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