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Media Companies Tap Virtual Reality to Drive Immersive Experiences

Virtual reality appeals to users of all ages

May 11, 2016

By the end of this year, there will be more than 6 million virtual reality (VR) users worldwide, according to data from Deutsche Bank, and more companies are looking to harness the power of the technology to reach this rapidly growing user base. During this month’s Newfronts and Upfronts presentations, Hulu, Fullscreen and the New York Times unveiled their own upcoming VR efforts.

Virtual Reality Users Worldwide, by Device, 2016-2020 (millions)

Last year at its Newfronts presentation, the New York Times announced its first foray into VR. The publisher partnered with production company Vrse to document the work of French artist JR’s large-scale street art installation in New York. This year, the publisher previewed its upcoming VR film , “Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart,” where users can experience Pluto.

At its Upfronts presentation, Hulu also announced the company’s venture into VR. Hulu partnered with LiveNation to deliver a VR concert experience to music fans. Users will be able to watch performances from their favorite artists via the Hulu AR app.

Similarly, Fullscreen announced an immersive 360-degree VR experience from Rooster Teeth, a production studio the company acquired last year.

US Internet Users Who Are Interested in Virtual Reality, by Generation, Oct 2015 (% of respondents in each group)

It’s a smart move for media companies to create these virtual experiences, since it’s an area that many users are interested in. October 2015 research from Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research found that users across all generations are highly interested in VR. Indeed, 79% of US Gen Z internet users—defined as those ages 10 to 18—said they are interested in VR. In addition, almost three-quarters (73%) of millennials and 70% of Gen Xers said they were as well. VR even appeals to baby boomers; 64% of them said they were interested in it.

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