It’s hard to tell how well Facebook’s going to go as it takes on YouTube for digital video supremacy - but this could certainly help. This week, Facebook-owned Oculus has announced the launch of ‘Oculus TV’, which gives Oculus users the ability to view video content in their own virtual lounge room.
As explained by Oculus:
“Oculus TV is a hub for must-watch programming, like your favorite Hulu and SHOWTIME shows, sports programming including MLB Live games via Facebook Watch, the best in pulse-pounding esports, and more - all on a massive virtual screen, equivalent to a 180-inch TV in real life.”
As noted, you'll be able to view content from various VOD providers through Oculus TV (so long as you have a separate subscription), but the key for Facebook will likely be the focus on Facebook Watch, and increasing viewership of their exclusive video options. That could be particularly relevant for sports coverage, linking to virtual viewing experiences which make it feel like you’re actually at the game.
Of course, in order to enjoy this virtual TV experience, and for Facebook to draw any video viewing benefit, you’ll need to actually have an Oculus headset - which an increasing number of people actually do. Projections suggest that Oculus will ship around a million new units this year, and the development of the company’s first standalone VR headset will certainly help pique consumer interest in VR capacity.
As noted by Oculus:
“With Oculus Go, getting in some personal TV time before bed - or anytime, really - is both easy and comfortable. The virtual display itself is like having your own private theater that’s always ready to go, and you’ll never have to share the remote.”
Definitely, the Oculus Go headset has the potential to spark a huge shift in VR usage. It’ll take time, but the ease of connection, and use, points to the next big shift for VR – and that could be where Facebook starts to gain significant ground on YouTube and Netflix within the video viewing stakes.
And as we’ve noted previously, if Facebook can get it right, its expanded video platform could provide significant opportunity for marketers. If more people are viewing video content on Facebook, that provides more capacity to reach them with your own video content and ads, targeted to very specific audiences through Facebook’s advanced audience options.
TV ads remain one of the most effective ways to build brand and product awareness, but fully-fledged TV ad campaigns are far too expensive for the majority of organizations to afford.
Facebook TV could change that – and while right now Oculus TV may seem like a novelty, as Oculus expands, it could become a more significant element.
New Oculus Go headsets will come with Oculus TV right out of the box, while people who already own an Oculus Go headset can now download Oculus TV from the Oculus Store.