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IBB Consulting: Consumer VR Industry Ready For Major Content Push

New consumer research from IBB Consulting shows healthy VR headset penetration, paving the way for a flood of innovative VR content in 2017.

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS - BARCELONA, SPAIN(28 Feb 2017)

IBB Consulting, a premier consulting firm guiding business and technology innovation at the convergence of mobility, broadband, and media, today announced its latest insights into the market for virtual reality (VR) content consumption. In a survey of 3,199 U.S. online consumer adults, 16% expressed an interest in virtual reality. IBB Consulting focused its research on those respondents interested in VR to better understand early trends across headset ownership, potential usage environments, content interests and more. 

Among consumers interested in VR, nearly one-third (30%) said they already own VR equipment. Of consumers that own equipment, 56% paid for it versus 44% who received it free as a gift or part of a smartphone bundle. IBB Consulting’s analysis of this trend suggests:  

  • Headset take-rate has increased but there is considerable room for growth;
  • Virtual reality content is now needed to maintain and increase engagement; and
  • VR content should take into account that with so many headsets obtained for free, that many are potentially low-end devices with limited functionality. 

These findings and IBB Consulting’s latest VR research will be presented by Jefferson Wang, IBB senior partner focusing on mobile innovation, during the “Mobile VR: Enhancing The Consumer Experience” session being held on February 28, 2017, at Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest gathering of the mobile industry with more than 101,000 attendees. 

Commenting on consumer VR headset ownership, Wang said, “IBB Consulting’s research shows that more VR headsets continue to make their way to consumers, demonstrating healthy early spending. And we see good room for growth, with three-quarters of consumers interested in VR saying they’re more willing to buy VR equipment if they’re able to try it firsthand.”

In thinking about all of the places respondents said they’d use VR, 77% said they want to use VR at home. But most interestingly, there is openness to out-of-home and mobile VR experiences in the following environments:             

  • Experience zones,” such as museums, arenas and theme parks (24%);
  • Airplanes and trains (15%);
  • At work (12%); and
  • Public transportation (7%). 

Wang said, “Clearly, the VR usage environment matters for consumers. As the world continues the march towards mobility, dedicated VR experience zones and airplanes may be considered safer, contained environments where VR can offer a differentiated immersive experience without the fear of having a bag stolen, missing the next stop or being looked at funny.” 

Diverse Content Interests Point To Range Of Market Opportunities

When respondents were asked to choose the type of VR content they’d be most interested in experiencing, gaming was unsurprisingly the most popular. However, just over one-third of respondents (37%) named gaming as their top interest. Travel was second with 20%, followed by movies, TV and news (17%), and virtual theme parks, education, visiting virtually with friends and user-generated content each receiving less than 10% interest. 

“Some companies and content owners are aggressively pursuing VR and others are cautiously testing the market, while the remainder are using a read and react strategy,” said Wang. “IBB Consulting’s perspective on this growing market is that VR is happening, but as the market innovates and grows, the 360-degree video that is most common today is not what will win tomorrow. The question now is how big will VR get and how long can those on the sideline wait before the opportunity vanishes.” 

To gain insight into the consumer VR market, IBB Consulting conducted a preliminary survey of 3,199 U.S. consumers during the week of February 20, 2017. Of this group, 511 consumers expressed an interest in virtual reality and completed the full survey, which was conducted online. For more information about IBB Consulting, visit www.ibbconsulting.com. For charts to accompany this data, please visit: https://ibbconsulting.com/consumer-vr-industry-ready-content.  

About IBB Consulting 

IBB Consulting is a premier consulting firm serving top companies in wireless and mobility, broadband and media. Founded in 2001, IBB’s team of senior industry experts leverages its extensive business planning, strategy and execution experience to help clients pioneer new products and services, develop innovative business models, and successfully execute business operations. IBB has worked with leading companies to conceive and grow some of the most significant strategic, marketing and operational and technology initiatives in the industry. The firm has U.S. offices in Philadelphia, and international offices in Amsterdam, Beijing and Sydney. More information about IBB is available at www.ibbconsulting.com.