YouTube, NYT, Associated Press, and WSJ Create VR Experiences
This is a big week for virtual reality video. For starters, YouTube has updated its Android app so that any video in its library can be viewed with a Google Cardboard viewer. Users only need to select the new Cardboard option from the watch page, then insert their phone into a Cardboard viewer. Content shot with a standard video camera will then give a feeling of depth.
The YouTube Android app also now supports true 360-degree VR. YouTube has a playlist of 360 VR videos on its site, which currently contains 13 items. With these videos (and a VR viewer), people can turn their heads to look around the area. YouTube will update its iOS app for VR sometime in the future.
Three news organizations are also jumping into 360-degree storytelling. The New York Times has released NYT VR, a free iOS and Android app that shows NYT-produced videos and VR ads. The paper is partnering with Google to provide Cardboard viewers to some of its subscribers. U.S. home delivery subscribers will get a Cardboard with their November 8 paper. Also, Times Insider subscribers who get marketing emails will get a code they can redeem for a viewer.
The Wall Street Journal is creating interactive videos that can be viewed on desktop, mobile, or with a VR viewer. It debuted this week with a profile of a soloist with the American Ballet Theater. The Journal created the mobile apps in-house, and partnered with Vrideo on desktop and Oculus playback. The Associated Press is collaborating with media company Ryot to create VR videos that will appear on both networks. Their first video was about life in a French migrant camp.
NBA, BuzzFeed, and Tastemade are already on board as sponsors, and YouTube is working with camera makers to expand its Jump platform.
The cameras have poor controls, the headsets are bulky, and the results sometimes make people sick. Still, don't write off virtual reality just yet.
Viewers don't need to strap a heavy piece of equipment to their heads to get immersed in virtual reality video. Even everyday scenes take on a new richness.
During the Samsung Mobile World Congress press event, Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise appearance to talk about the social future of virtual reality.
The site will carry teaser videos, game day commercials, and original content. Viewers will be able to vote on favorites once the game ends.
For $10 per month, online video fans can watch original content from some of YouTube's biggest stars, view ad-free video, and stream music to a new app. Is that enough to entice subscribers to YouTube Red?
Video creators can now stream their mobile gaming sessions on the Android app, using the front-facing camera to capture their reactions.
The curated channel will highlight first-person videos related to major news events, making them available for news story embedding.