WHAT IT IS: Marketers like Xbox, Red Bull and Armani and, most recently, a Canadian TV network are tapping the 360-degree web video that brought us Google Street View to create branded environments where viewers can control their field of vision. Taking wraparound video into real time, Immersive Media, headquartered in Canada, recently debuted streaming technology that lets viewers control their perspective in live video to look up, down or sideways. Canadian music network MuchMusic has been the first to use this technology to stream live online concerts on its website.
"The more we allow our viewers to control the show, the less likely they are to flip away," said Ryan Trotman, director at MuchMusic.
THE NUMBERS: Mr. Trotman reports that during the first Immersive streaming event, MuchMusic doubled its audience in the second half of the show as viewers spread links to the event via Twitter and Facebook.
Xbox, for the latest release of first-person shooter game Halo 3: ODST, a 360-degree interrogation room drew nearly 300,000 visitors in the weeks after the campaign launch. Immersive Media Chief Operating Officer Karen Tanaka said videos for Adidas and Red Bull were viewed an average of five times by each viewer.
WHY IT MATTERS: "In the past, you hit click and play. With our video, the interactivity and control empower the audience," Ms. Tanaka said. "They're looking at what they want to see. It also is very sticky because each experience is unique to the viewer."
HOW IT WORKS: The camera has 11 lenses arranged in a rough sphere to film a scene from multiple perspectives. A processor then encodes those images and a server streams all that video, knitted together. The player then responds to how the viewer drags around the player with the mouse.