Happy Friday! Welcome to Issue 59 of Rerun by Axonista!
Lots of storytelling goodness this week, we have a rallying cry to storytellers to approach VR differently to linear film, and we have an amazing piece of multimedia by National Geographic following bears in Yellowstone Park. Elsewhere we were looking at BuzzFeeds very distributed channels and some advice given to advertisers to start letting go of their traditional advertising formats in response. But there's the problem of measurement...
How traditional storytelling Is ruining virtual reality film
A really good piece from Meghan Neal about how VR storytelling should be approached in a completely different way from that of linear film. Successful VR experiences or 'storyscapes' are ones which focus on building a world that provokes an emotional response from the audience, in which many stories can live.
No one has even come close to mastering the medium, but it’s clear that holding on to the traditional rules of storytelling is a surefire way to make disappointing VR. Even borrowing the term “film” to describe immersive storytelling isn’t an entirely accurate description, and we don’t yet have a word to replace it with.
Future of TV
What networks does BuzzFeed actually use?
When thinking of an example of a modern distributed media company, BuzzFeed is one of the first to mind. Naytev, who do A/B testing for Facebook posts, have published some research on the networks that BuzzFeed use. Turns out they have 45 different distribution channels, covering 11 countries and seven languages, and 80% of their reach falls outside their own website.
It's also clear from Naytev's research that video is a huge deal for BuzzFeed. Nearly half of their distribution channels are video syndication deals and they get over 1 billion video views every month.
Reality check: distributed media strategies won't work if they can't be measured
New video publishing platforms are attracting large audiences, and brands are getting behind them, but it's difficult for them to invest in cross platform strategies without having a standard way of measuring the landscape. What exact duration of a video view counts as a view, and what exactly is being measured where?
The move towards vertical video has added more complexity for ad providers who need to cater for ads playing within vertical platforms as well as landscape, within a set campaign budget.
Twitter has given advertisers a familiar pre-roll ad model but Facebook won't be adding pre-roll ads to their video any time soon, as they consider it a sucky user experience.
YouTube thinks you aren't watching enough video
YouTube has dominated the market in video streaming but with growing competition from other companies and streaming services like Facebook it has started to redesign some of its features.
Its new 'home' section on mobile has just one personalised feed and two visible videos (unless you scroll down). This uses machine learning to power a recommendations system that is intended to keep you in the app for longer.
It’s also enabling 6 second bumper ads, which are more suitable for shorter videos and are close to the 5 second preroll already featured.
A Bear’s-Eye View of Yellowstone
This week National Geographic published an incredible piece of multimedia storytelling. They attached special cameras to the tracking collars of four bears in Yellowstone Park, to get an unprecedented look into the daily habits of the animals. The result is part interactive magazine, part grizzly bear Instagram feed. It does a fantastic job of bring out the bears' personalities and we're very excited to see more.
On the other end of the scale, Discovery want you to use VR to experience life as a crab in a fishing trawler. Distinctly more wet, slimy and gross than bears rolling around Yellowstone Park, but nevertheless a great example of VR's potential for immersion and empathy. Watching thousands of crabs get dumped on a boat on your TV is one thing, having them dumped all over you in VR is quite another!
Samsung's Gear 360 could be the VR camera you've been looking for
Oculus and HTC have dominated VR news over the past year and from what we've seen so far the VR experiences look pretty awesome.
Samsung is aiming to establish itself in the VR market, and is now launching its 360 camera in South Korea and soon internationally. While Samsung won't be competing in the same market- the Gear 360 is more a consumer camera- it will position Samsung as a leader in the field of lower cost VR kit.
And lower cost doesn't necessarily mean poor quality. It has 4K recording capability, two fish-eye lenses and a microSD slot giving it potential storage of 128GB.
The Guardian bets big on VR: 'We've jumped in the deep end of the pool'
Although The Guardian has to tighten its belt over the coming years, it's not holding back from investing in VR news storytelling.
'6x9 A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement' is clever in its storytelling, combining 360 video of a small prison cell with voice over narration from prisoners detailing their experience of solitary confinement.
The simplicity of the video is its making, showing that the team behind it have thought about the best of way of telling the story through atmosphere and the sense of 'being there' instead of trying to force the viewer's attention to particular objects or scenes.
Watch 8 minutes of Pokémon Go's augmented reality gameplay in action
In Pokémon Go you use your phone and augmented reality to chase down and catch Pokémon in the real world. You'll be competing against other trainers and you can even battle them. It's basically every childhood Pokémon fan's dream come true!
With the recent improvements in mobile phone cameras we're seeing a lot more augmented reality apps come into the market—the lenses in Snapchat and MSQRD are another example—and we're excited to see how this can be used for storytelling going forward.
- Comcast buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8 billion deal
- Twitter, NFL streaming deal may be first of many
- Valve & Lionsgate bringing 100 feature films to Steam that you can watch in a VR theater
- esportsTV, 1st Western 24/7 eSports channel, will launch in May
- Vive manufacturer HTC creates $100M fund for VR startups
The guitarist from heavy metal band KISS is doing a kids’ storybook app
KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer isn't the first person we'd think would be developing a children's storytelling app, or championing VR, or attending the Samsung Developer Conference. But he has done all three.
He was at the conference to promote his upcoming storybook app for kids about a Hummingbird who wants to sing rather than just hum.
He reportedly felt quite out of place at the conference. May have been the make-up!