360 video sits within the emergence of Virtual Reality (VR) as a modern way for an audience to consume entertainment. Effectively a sphere of video, it enables a viewer to be transported into a world they couldn’t normally reach, able see in any direction they may choose and directly interact with the content.
- Desktop 360
360° video content can be consumed in two ways: VR headset or desktop players (PC/Mac or phone and tablet). The market audience is much larger on Desktop at this time, with Youtube having reach of over one billion users, and Facebook videos reaching up to 1.13billion users (1). Facebook revealed there are over 20,000 360° videos on their platform with hundreds more added each day.
- Virtual Reality Headsets (HMD)
The market for VR headsets currently sits around 16million in early 2017. There have been 10million downloads of google cardboard, with a further 6million fully featured VR headsets sold(2).
The highest selling VR dedication headset (non-cardboord) was the Samsung GearVR, with sales of around 4.5million in 2016. The mobile phone VR sales figures are a crucial indicator to growth of the VR headset audience in the future. This will be by far the largest headset market in the near future for VR content consumption, expected to number in the tens of millions by 2025.
Phone manufacturers are including VR headsets and VR capable software in their products, ensuring anyone who upgrades their phone will have easy access to VR by default.
360 Video Engagement
Views are 28.81% higher with 360 videos, and twice as many viewers watch them to 100% completion(3).
At the end of 2016, we delivered a commercial for Xbox, which has the highest hit rate of any SpeedVR production to date. Currently there are 913,699 views on Youtube, with a further 1.9m views on Facebook. These are views for a video with a simple tour of an event setup and straightforward creative message. Repeat views were garnered by offering hidden in-shot easter egg itemstied in to the brand for the audience to search for and identify as part of a competition.
Google released some statistics on virtual tours including both 360° video and 360° photo. They found that virtual tours increased engagement among visitors to website in terms of interactivity and length of time.
It is clear that the market is still in its infancy, but we anticipate sharp growth as people engage more via desktop platforms and awareness increases in the format. Ultimately the key driver will be in the size of the mobile VR market and how many of those upgrading to VR capable phones inset them into their included headsets and how often.