Viacom bullish on VR for music content
US media conglomerate Viacom is bullish about the future of VR, especially for music content. The company will continue to invest in virtual reality following successful VR tests around its TV Music Awards (TVMAs) and Europe Music Awards (EMAs), according to Raffaele Annecchino, the firm’s president and managing director for Southern and Western Europe and MEA.
“We had our first real [VR] experience in the TV Music Awards and the Europe Music Awards last year. The tests have been really successful and virtual reality at the EMAs allowed us to offer our audience unparalleled access to the backstage or the front row in an exclusive way.”
Annecchino added that he sees a viable long term future for VR in Viacom’s mix of platforms with which to reach its audience, especially for music. “We are going to continue to take more opportunities in this area because VR in music can be a really unique experience. Virtual Reality and music is a perfect combination so it something that for sure we want to develop more of in the future. You have the possibility to have a totally different perspective. It is something we are investing more in and that will continue.”
On the subject of potential revenue models for VR content, Annecchino indicated that Viacom would keep an open mind and see how the technology evolves. The important point is that VR offers a new medium through which to engage with viewers. “All business models in all businesses are evolving. I think the fact we have consumption on so many platforms is an opportunity for the viewer to have access anytime and anywhere to the content, and for us to evolve our relationship with the consumer as well.
“VR is a new way to engage and push boundaries and this is what we continue to be doing in TV in order to engage and entertain and of course attract more and more viewers.”
Annecchino also defended VR against the common criticism that large VR goggles removes the viewer from the immediate surroundings, which some naysayers argue could preclude the technology from being used in social settings. “One experience doesn’t preclude the other. In the length of a one hour show you can have both experiences and share with your friends,” he said.