VR’s sig­nif­i­cance in me­dia set to grow, say ex­perts

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By XU­FAN

Do you some­times picture your­self swim­ming with whales or min­gling with celebri­ties in a party set­ting?

The 2016 Global Video Me­dia Fo­rum, held in Suzhou, East China’s Jiangsu prov­ince, over Oct 20-21, told us that a dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion un­der­way could bring us close to our fan­tasies. More than 300 par­tic­i­pants from 36 coun­tries and re­gions came to the fo­rum, which was hosted by CCTV News Con­tent, a first of its kind video agency that serves hun­dreds of TV sta­tions in China and out­side.

Vis­i­tors at the event wore vir­tual re­al­ity head­sets and “swam” in­oceans or “flew” in a he­li­copter through glass win­dows.

VR might be­come a means to re­port news as well as live stream videos in the fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to some ex­perts at the fo­rum.

“VR con­nects the au­di­ence to news spots. It trans­ports view­ers to the scene of ac­tion, which more eas­ily res­onates with them,” says Liu Qun, head of strate­gic in­vest­ment at CCTV.com.

State-owned CCTV.com, for ex­am­ple, has pro­duced a VR pro­gram about theRedArmy’s Long March. The pro­gram al­lows view­ers to “walk” with the Com­mu­nist troops on their tough jour­ney un­der­taken from 1934 to 1936, while try­ing to avoid be­ing en­cir­cled by the Kuom­intang forces.

Jes­sica San­der, a mul­ti­me­dia de­sign man­ager with The New York Times, says while VR might not re­place tra­di­tional news re­port­ing, it could make peo­ple know the world bet­ter.

“VR makes you go to an­other place that you nor­mally won’t visit. Just like join­ing the refugees in The Dis­placed to see where they’re liv­ing,” says San­der.

The Dis­placed is a 11-minute VR film chron­i­cling the global refugee cri­sis fol­low­ing the views of three dis­placed chil­dren in Le­banon, South Su­dan and Ukraine, made by NYT mag­a­zine.

But not all con­tent is suit­able

VR con­nects the au­di­ence to news spots.” head of strate­gic in­vest­ment at CCTV.com

Liu Qun, forVR, says Salar Shahna, cre­ative di­rec­tor and co-founder of World VR Fo­rum, a Swiss as­so­ci­a­tion ded­i­cated to ad­vanc­ing the VR in­dus­try, point­ing to eth­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions that need to be made while se­lect­ing news for view­ers.

He also says VR’s big­gest sig­nif­i­cance lies in that it can change the viewer’s iden­tity in a vir­tual en­vi­ron­ment, “make you be­come any­one that you want to be”.

Many see 2016 as a year of VR boom and rise in live stream­ing.

GaoWei, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of CCTV News Con­tent, says video is chang­ing the world, and in the near fea­ture video will be­come a ma­jor way to com­mu­ni­cate and re­ceive in­for­ma­tion.

“China will re­port­edly have a 5G net­work, which means the in­ter­net speed can be as fast as down­load­ing 10 high­qual­ity films in the blink of an eye,” he says.

Niko­laus Lohmann, CEO, Earth TV, a Ger­man chan­nel, says live video stream­ing will in some ways dom­i­nate the in­for­ma­tion high­way.

“You can be on the other side of the world, or even not know a lan­guage,” he says. “Im­age is uni­ver­sal.”

Earth TV airs live broad­casts around the world, and Lohmann says he is seek­ing Chi­nese me­dia part­ners to show­case Chi­nese cities.

Re­search shows the hu­man at­ten­tion span is about eight sec­onds, which means video can grab eye­balls quicker than text or still im­ages, says David Sch­lesinger, manag­ingdi­rec­tor, Triod Ad­vi­sors, a Hong Kong­based com­pany pro­vid­ing con­sul­tancy to­me­di­aand­busi­ness.

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