Within technology circles, virtual reality and augmented reality have become big areas of investment, both in monetary terms and as a conversation topic. The industry is hopeful that this will become the next big evolution in the consumer experience, and they have good reason to believe so as the initial projections look promising. According to The Diffusion Group, the global user base is projected to reach around 275 million by 2025, with annual shipments growing to approximately 70 million (up from 5 million in 2016). If the figures hold, these technologies will move from novelty to commonplace in no time.
A similar shift in content consumption happened recently when television content began migrating off of TV screens and across mobile devices. Beyond the content itself, we saw that numerous factors plagued the industry; everything from ad insertion to digital rights management became friction points that needed to be addressed. As we look forward to an emerging VR and AR market, many of the same challenges will exist, albeit in different forms.
In its current state, most of the VR video content available today is not monetized; this can improperly set user expectations and harm growth in the long run. Even at this early stage, when initial volumes are expected to be relatively small, it’s important for brands to consider advertising and monetization from the onset. It’s difficult to reset user expectations once they have grown accustomed to content being free and ad-less.
New Screens, New Capabilities
Adobe is expanding VR and AR capabilities within Adobe Primetime, with ad insertion, DRM and playback. Integration across the Adobe Marketing Cloud will enable brands to tap into Adobe Analytics. With close measurement of user activity and the ability to produce actionable insights, brands can ensure they are meeting user expectations and delivering an experience that’s personalized to individual tastes.
In order to support content providers across the entire spectrum from ideation to production and post-production, all the way through to delivery, playback, protection, monetization and measurement, we’ve also announced updates recently in Adobe Creative Cloud. Premiere Pro CC will be adding new powerful support for VR Video workflows, including a “field of view” model for spherical stitched media.
New capabilities in Adobe Primetime include:
Ad-driven monetization: There are two primary VR/AR scenarios that we will focus on. The first is a virtual environment such as a cinema, where viewers can watch traditional video. Here, content providers and broadcast/cable networks can distribute existing catalogs of TV and film content. The second scenario is immersive video that wraps around the user, allowing them to look around during playback and will make them feel as if they inhabit a space. This is great for live events and news/documentary content.
When brands begin thinking about monetization, they can approach advertising via a number of models that we support:
- Sponsored playback: Viewers are brought into the front row at a live broadcast (such as a sponsored concert). Branding can be integrated into the physical environment in the form of physical objects and dynamic signage.
- Traditional ad insertion: This includes existing formats such as pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll, where 360 and virtual cinemas can support a combination of traditional 2D and 360 ad creative. Integration with Adobe Analytics will enable a better understanding of how the viewer is reacting, all the way down to what they are looking at via gaze-tracking support.
- Complex ad insertion: Brands can insert or replace objects within the VR environment, such as a can of soda in a virtual cinema or physical displays within a sports stadium environment. This scenario also enables targeted advertising. For instance, if analytics show that the viewer is in the market for a car, this object can be inserted into the environment. When the car is selected, the viewer would be transported into the interior and can watch sponsored content. Advertisers could then be charged based on the level of engagement.
Content Protection: Adobe Primetime is supporting playback of DRM-protected content (using Adobe Access) for both Virtual Cinema and 180/360 VR video scenarios. Diverse business models such as rental and subscription are enabled via our industry-standard content protection and rich rights expression – which also satisfies the licensing requirements of content owners.
Device Support: There are numerous VR devices in the market. Adobe Primetime will be initially focused on the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard, with support coming later for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
For our developer community, we have an exciting update to share as well. In partnership with Wikitude – a leading augmented reality SDK – those who are using the PhoneGap Developer App will now be able to create powerful and immersive AR projects. Capabilities will include image recognition, image tracking, geo–based augmented reality, as well as 3D rendering and animations.