360-degree video: a virtual world of real opportunities

Projected revenue — $4.1 bn (by 2025)

One more promising direction of VR technology development: 360-degree (or immersive) video helps users feel as if they are participating, thus expanding the overall video experience. It gives you the chance to ‘attend’ exciting shows and matches in any part of the world, travel to faraway places, and much more. For example, CNN launched 360-degree streaming of the US presidential debates. Although politics will obviously never catch up to erotic videos in popularity, VR takes us to exotic places or sport and music festivals. Immersive formats such as VR and 360 blend the physical and digital worlds to create a new storytelling medium: you can be racing through the streets of Rio de Janiero in an action-packed video game one minute and reaching new heights on a rollercoaster the next, all from the comfort of your desk.

According to a Goldman Sachs report, VR streaming revenues will reach $750 m by 2020, and $4.1 bn by 2025. These calculations were based on the price of tickets and average number of users watching events that can be streamed in VR. Though for now only 28% of all consumers watch one or more virtual reality videos in a week, the number of users enjoying 360-degree videos is expected to grow.

VR technology and 360-degree video will fundamentally change our ideas of watching TV. You will get the opportunity to become a direct participant in the event instead of watching it from the sidelines. Anyone who has ever tried on VR glasses or a headset has certainly thought about how great it would be to enjoy, for example, a safari video with all the impressions a VR device can provide. One of the most important areas is documentary film, where interesting works such as Witness 360 are being produced, but immersive video is also making inroads in animation, with examples like the acclaimed Allumete, as well as journalism and art.

TechCrunch stated that immersive video and VR streaming would be a godsend to fans who cannot travel across half the world to see their heroes. The 2016 Olympic Games were VR streamed by NBC and the BBC, thus attracting general attention to the initiative. Immersive video is indisputably the next best thing to seeing a product in person, and that’s too good for big market players to pass up.

The first company to provide 360-degree streaming of sport events was Next VR, an American startup, which has attracted over $100 m of investments since its inception, having made the first ever 360-degree streaming in 2015. Other companies were quick to recognize the benefits and jump on the bandwagon. Here are some examples.

  • Absolut, in cooperation with Koncept VR, Forever Beta and Two Goats organized a Bob Moses show in New York. They provided 360-degree streaming, and some records were made available for Google Cardboard, on iTunes, Google Play and Youtube afterwards.
  • The Los Angeles Philharmonic uses VR technology to acquaint users with classical music. A piece of a concert will soon be available for the Oculus Rift and GearVR, and now a special van is driving through Los Angeles, inside which anyone can enjoy Beethoven in a full VR experience.
  • SpaceVR plans to stream immersive video from the ISS, so that anyone can subscribe and go on a virtual space journey, watch the Earth from the space and feel like a real astronaut.

Now let’s see how the Cappasity platform can be of help to immersive video creators on the one hand and to video production and PR companies on the other. Content makers from different corners of the globe will be able to send their proposals and links to their portfolios to negotiate with potential clients. Once the content makers are selected, the money will be frozen on the customer account and sent to the makers when the task is submitted. The customer evaluates the video quality. After the purchase, the production company is authorized to resell the content to its clients. It may sell erotic home 360-degree video to cable TV broadcasters, safari video from South Africa to travel agencies and live rock festival footage to streaming services. There is a whole production chain with no encumbrances at any stage.

VR technology has been dramatically underestimated: Its opportunities are by no means limited to games and movies. Virtual reality can bring people together on a totally new level, change our perception of the world around us, in short — it can change our world.