So here we are… Instagram Live! Haha, gotcha. Nope, over here at the Innovation Desk we like to buck the trend… Go against the grain… Throw caution to the wind… etc. etc. We’re going to have a look at a company that’s making some really interesting headway in the virtual reality field – Sky.
Sky made the decision that they wanted to become a leader in this field… And like most things they turn their hand to, they throw the kitchen sink at it. Think about it – Sports Channels (who else could have given Darts a platform?), PVRs (everyone had that one friend that not only had “the channels”, but also a Sky box. He/she was really annoying to have around but MY GOD did you need him/her. MTV? Sky Movies? How else would you eventually get to watch American Pie?), News (I mean what else would you watch after your siesta while you’re in the hotel room on your holidays?), and HDTV (absolutely brilliant for sport; not so necessary for your Friday night movie… I don’t need to see Jude Law’s wrinkles. Leave me to my delusions).
Early this year they set up a VR Studio, and hired small but extremely talented and experienced team whose sole role is to create top class VR experiences across the entertainment, news and sport disciplines. Now, sport has been leading the charge here, which probably makes sense. It’s Sky’s heartland. Beckham was featured in a VR video to mark Sky Sports’ 25th anniversary and it was viewed 3.2 million times.
They’ve hedged their bets that VR is not just a trend, but will come part of the fabric of daily life over the coming years. Maybe not straight away, but in time, it could become as normal a part of life as rewinding live TV. I don’t know about you, but the day we got a Sky box was the highlight of my childhood. It was the October mid-term break in 1999 and I was 11. No more taping episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer onto VHS tapes (9pm Friday nights on Sky One, followed by Angel at 10pm, in case you were wondering). Oh no no. We’d moved into the 21st century.
Anyway, over the last 6 months the team has learned a lot in terms of what works for VR – which you can read more about here: http://digiday.com/publishers/six-months-sky-learned-vr/. Take note: SHORT FORM. Sure we knew that already.
Ok so what’s the big deal? I think this is really cool, for a few reasons. Firstly, as I mentioned above, when Sky go for something, they go all in. They make themselves the major player, the one everyone else tries to emulate. Secondly, they’ve hired an award winning director to head up the team – to me this is evidence that they are putting creativity at the heart of this, which is a strong start on the road to success. And finally, think how cool this will be in 5 years or so? You, previously just a passive viewer, could become virtually immersed in news reports, football matches, reality TV (Ex on the Beach, hello???)…
In terms of advertising I think it’s a really good sign that a media owner is investing so heavily in this space, making their offering more premium and attractive for brands to advertise with. This in turn (hopefully) will force the hands of advertisers to keep up to speed and create better work in conjunction with their agencies.
So bit of an essay there, but interesting innovation all the same.
And before anyone thinks they’re really smart and thinks “haha looks like you were that annoying friend with the Sky box”, I was a deprived child and everyone else had one before me… Hence the unbelievable envy and subsequent joy when my constant pleading finally paid off.
So on that note, I’ll leave ye be
Mind yourselves now