While HULU last week unveiled virtual reality content in an effort to drive up subscription rates, companies like Netflix are seemingly lagging behind in this area. While Netflix does have an app which allows for the viewing of content within a virtual reality setting, the content itself is simply placed onto a flat screen within a virtual world. Watching a movie or television show on a flat 2D screen within a virtual movie theater isn’t exactly what one thinks of when they hear the phrase VR storytelling, but Netflix may be about to make major changes in this area.
“VR in the near term might be seen as something for gaming but we’re interested too,” explained Chris Jaffe, Netflix’s Vice President of Product Development. “My personal take is I’m interested in seeing where the storytelling aspects develop.”Of course there’s a technical side with technology but at heart the important thing is the story and my feeling is that it has to lead there. Consumers want stories to be told in various ways.”
It’s not only Netflix who seems to be noticing the rapid influx of virtual reality headsets coming into the market over the last few months. In fact the European TV juggernaut, Sky is investing heavily into the creation of exclusive virtual reality content.
“Sky is uniquely placed and we are always been looking at new ways to get content out there – we have access to movies, TV and sport, and we need to populate VR with mind-blowing content,” Sky VR exec producer Neil Graham told TechRadar. “We have set up Sky VR Studio and have resources on post-production. We are training people up and have four dedicated VR operators – we will compete and work with the major players.”
There is a laundry list of production companies entertaining the idea of allocating resources towards the production of VR content. While we are still early in the game, they all understand the importance of an early entrance. Over the next year or two we are certain that virtual reality storytelling will explode onto the scene, with new ways of watching your favorite characters interact, not only with each other, but also with you as a viewer. It may take some time for the right format to be realized, but there is little doubt that a multi-billion dollar market will soon emerge within the virtual reality storytelling space.
Let’s hear your thoughts on how Netflix and other companies could make an impact in the VR content space. Discuss in the Netflix Virtual Reality forum on VRTalk.com.