In the weeks leading into the Cross Video Days 2016 which this year focus on VR, we take a look at how 360° video and VR fit into digital content strategies of key European players, starting with French-German network ARTE.
ARTE has been involved in transmedia for the past 10 years. Does the emergence of VR and 360° video herald an evolution in terms of content and user experience?
Transmedia has actually played an important role in shaping this, emphasizing the need for innovation in the TV medium. It has led us to think more about non-linear storytelling, which has bcome commonplace with platforms such as YouTube or Netflix, and to start envisioning new ways of telling stories. Through its focus on innovation, ARTE has had many successful experiences in transmedia. The advent of new digital TV formats such as ATSC enables interactivity, echoing what we have been doing online for the past 10 years, such as webdocumentaries or other transmedia programs. Standardization will usher the television experience into a new era. It took transmedia years before it managed to come up with standardized programs. With 360° video and virtual reality, one of the keys will be to define common standards to tell immersive stories.
Are 360° video & VR new playfields for television?
I don’t believe it’s a blank slate. We’ve been thinking about VR storytelling and immersion for years. If you look at the notion of presence for the audience, film knows pretty much how to pull audiences into powerful storyworlds. To us, innovation needs to serve the experience. What matters most is the story, its goal — technology is just a vehicle to tell it over various channels, like mobile, the web, smart TVs, and now virtual reality headsets.
Documentary, fiction and cultural events have always been part of ARTE’s DNA. Eventually, it’s just the tools that are evolving…
Innovation is deeply rooted in ARTE’s DNA. We have a long track record of producing interactive content and games. VR is at the crossroads of all these storytelling forms, halfway between the native interacytivity of games, and more traditional storytelling such as film & documentary. ARTE 360’s goal is to act as a mirror for the network’s linear programming: fiction, documentaries, cultural events, performing arts, but also news and journalism. We have always embraced technology at the heart of ARTE, to make sure our programs can live on in alternate forms, such as 360° or VR.
Kay Meseberg will be speaking at the Storytelling in VR/360° Panel on June 8th, 2:30 pm at Cross Video Days 2016.