M&E Connections

NeuLion, Nokia Execs: Media Companies Should Take Advantage of VR Opportunities

There are many opportunities for media companies that want to capitalize on the thriving virtual reality (VR) market, and the end-to-end, jointly integrated platform offered by NeuLion and Nokia presents many benefits, according to executives at the two companies.

The new immersive types of content we’re seeing “really drives engagement” for longer periods of time and “there’s excellent ways to trigger that into revenue for VR producers,” NeuLion EVP Chris Wagner said July 18 during the webinar “How to Produce, Deliver, Monetize & Experience VR Content.”

“We’re kind of beyond simple streaming,” he said, adding: “There’s so much more to do to interact with the viewer” to enhance the video-viewing experience.

“Compelling content is just the biggest key to make sure that you have that most immersive experience,” Malachi Bierstein, head of VR sales at Nokia, said on the webinar. “Without the content, not really much else matters. So, really that compelling content is going to be the ultimate driver of VR adoption,” he said.

The total VR industry grew to about $1 billion in revenue from hardware and software in 2016, Bierstein said. It’s expected to hit the $100 billion mark in about 2020, he said, citing various industry projections. That means there’s a “very large opportunity across all things VR, whether it be software, hardware” or services, he said.

The announcement that there will be a wireless version of Facebook’s Oculus VR headset at about $200 is significant, he went on to say, pointing out: “Consumer access to that immersive content – not just the production of it, but being able to actually then carry that through and allow the user to actually experience that immersive content in the highest possible quality — has been a barrier to entry” so far. The declining price of quality VR headsets is “definitely going to help us to trigger that growth,” he said.

Nokia’s OZO Live and OZO Reality Platform, combined with the NeuLion Digital Platform, offers customers complete end-to-end production, delivery, monetization and playback of live and on-demand VR content to enable professional 360 VR streaming and delivery with unprecedented efficiency and quality, the companies said when announcing their VR partnership in April.

The integration of those services enables users to stream a single stitched live video feed from multiple OZO cameras using OZO Live and NeuLion MC encoders for real-time 3D 360 encoding of sports and entertainment events. The encoded stream can be packaged and delivered by the NeuLion Digital Platform, using Nokia’s OZO Reality platform to adaptively stream and play back the highest quality VR content over the Internet to end users on second screens and VR headsets.

The benefits of the solution for VR content owners include faster speed to market, reduced complexity, monetization tools and the ability to drive new revenue, Bierstein and Wagner pointed out on the webinar.

The solution works on “any kind of device, so it can be a VR headset, it can be a mobile device” and “we work with all the connected devices,” including Apple TV, Wagner said. He added: “Being able to offer a combination of those devices, I think, is important” because consumers tend to have more than five different devices to access video now, whether that video is HD, Ultra HD or VR.