The audiovisual world at the time of virtual reality

Estimated read time 3 min read

At the Virtual Laval show, in Laval, on April 6th. At the Virtual Laval show, in Laval, on April 6th. JEAN-FRANÇOIS MONIER/AFP

No event dedicated to television escapes a “new technologies” space. Among them, virtual reality now occupies a good place. She even appears as one of the stars of the International Television Program Market (MIPTV), which will be held in Cannes from April 9 to 12. Its director, Laurine Garaude, explains: “We have been accelerating the development around VR for three years now [initiales de l’anglais virtual reality, réalité virtuelle]. It is essential, in a content market like MIPTV, to bring together all the actors who are working in search of new narratives. »

This immersive technology, capable of offering the user a dive into a 360-degree universe – essentially thanks to a headset – makes content broadcasters think, who observe the rise of new modes of image consumption. “More and more viewers, especially young adults, are consuming video content off the television screen and abandoning the programs that are broadcast there, notes Pierre Block from Friberg, in charge of the New Writing division of France Télévisions. There is a great appetite for new technologies. »

Read also Virtual reality: eight innovative experiences at the Laval Virtual Show

Far from the time slots imposed by the program schedules, the channels could seek to (re)conquer a wider audience, and especially a younger one. The reflection is engaged at Arte: “The idea for us is to meet an audience who does not particularly watch Arte on television, but who is interested in original narratives and points of view,” says Gilles Freissinier, director of digital development at Arte France.

His counterpart Pierre Block from Friberg recognizes that “virtual reality accompanies these changes in uses. It makes it possible to rethink the audiovisual narration, with stories that are lived in total immersion without ever leaving the frame of the image”.

Call product development

According to the latest forecasts of the American company Gartner, which publishes every year its famous curve of adoption of emerging technologies, called the “hype cycle”, virtual reality should become democratized within two to five years. But the chains, on the other hand, did not wait to ride the trend.

The enthusiasm is first verified through the development of appealing products around flagship programs. TF1 undertook this with its MYTF1 VR application which, in February 2017, allowed viewers to follow all the blind auditions of the sixth edition of “The Voice”. Building on its success, the group today wishes to repeat the experience with the Football World Cup in June. “Thanks to virtual elements, the spectator will be offered an immersion in the dressing room, and from this dressing room, it will be possible to watch the matches from different angles of view,” already welcomes Guillaume Esmiol, Head of Open Innovation and New Business for the TF1 group.

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