The over-the-top market (OTT) is gearing up to launch VR-video content, with more than two-thirds of OTT companies are claiming that VR is here to stay, according to a new global study. So, what is it about VR tech that’s getting OTT companies excited, and can we really expect to see VR become a mainstay of streaming video?
According to a study commissioned by Level 3 Communications (a communications company that operates a global content delivery and video broadcast network), conducted by Unisphere Research Group, in partnership with Streaming Media, VR may soon become a familiar and integral part of the digital video experience.
Researchers interviewed 628 people working at media and entertainment companies across the globe. Those interviewed were asked to give their opinion on the current state of the OTT market, as well as on numerous other topics including business, technology, competitive challenges, and the viability of the OTT model.
One of the key findings was that 52 percent of respondents are either researching, preparing to launch, or have already launched VR-video content, with a further 67 percent believing that VR is here to stay. Given that VR tech was little more than a novelty just a few years ago, the study is compelling evidence that the OTT industry is now taking the tech much more seriously.
In a recent blog, I looked at how many key players in the sports industry are currently pursuing VR projects, with companies such as the NHL, NASCAR, MLB, and NBA all looking to use VR to create a more immersive viewing experience than ever. But this latest study shows that it’s not just sports fans who may soon benefit from VR, but that (since the OTT market is growing at such an incredible rate, with over 213.2 million viewers in the US alone – that’s more that 78 percent of the population!) VR may soon be available to almost everyone.
For those of us who want to be sucked into our favourite shows, this is great news; the fact that VR tech itself is constantly improving means that these experiences promise to be incredibly entertaining and realistic.
However, the study also found that most respondents also felt that mainstream adoption of VR will be a challenge. The most commonly cited problems were a lack of consumer awareness, interest, and fear of competition from free services, user generated content, bandwidth caps, and the cost of VR gear.
Still, there’s no reason not to be optimistic. Once VR tech reaches the point at which it can enable consumers to experience media in a completely new and far more immersive way than ever before, for a price that’s considered reasonable, the OTT companies will be ready to jump in. And that will be a great day!