SXSW Day-Four Notebook: VR and AR That Works

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An attendee wears a Microsoft HoloLens headset at SXSW in Austin on Monday.
An attendee wears a Microsoft HoloLens headset at SXSW in Austin on Monday.  Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg


There's been no shortage of data this week. But perhaps the best stat out of SXSW came during the "Bingers & Time-Shifters: The Future of TV Marketing." Apparently, 21% of young people would prefer to binge watch TV than have sex. -- Jeanine Poggi


The WWE's Stephanie McMahon is riding one of the world's most valuable brands, an heir to a wrestling dynasty. She was in Austin's SXSW to talk about the sport-entertainment league's digital strategy, with WWE streaming from Facebook Live to Twitter to YouTube. It also has millions of subscribers to its own streaming service, a paid over-the-top offering like Netflix or HBO Go. If anyone has figured out the pay-TV model its WWE, which always kept premium price tags on its biggest events like WrestleMania through pay per view. Now, WrestleMania also comes with its streaming service. The brand is capitalizing on social media, too: It counts 750 million followers and fans across its social platforms. Ms. McMahon was in Austin at the same time as John Cena, who was a featured speaker on Monday. -- Garett Sloane


Twitter gave Wendy's the keys to its SXSW house, and free Frostys were on the menu. Wendy's is using Twitter to amplify its sponsorship of the NCAA's March Madness championship tournament, giving people a way to fill out college basketball brackets through direct messages on the platform. For its part, Twitter has been hosting private events at its Austin house all week. Another big night was Monday, when Twitter threw a "Bachelor" finale viewing party, in line with the company's aim to be a national discussion board during live events. -- Garett


In my continued quest to understand the hype surrounding virtual reality and augmented reality I visited RYOT's pop-up space about a half-hour walk from the Convention Center. There RYOT, the VR company acquired by AOL last year, was showing off AR applications and VR content that actually began to break down some of my skepticism. In AR, RYOT is working with magazine publishers to make print covers and ads come to life. With the Elle magazine app, for example, you can scan an ad and see a luxury bag pop off the bag. The technology allows you to explore the features of the purse from all angles. On the VR front I watched two videos that did a good job of eliciting emotions. My favorite was "Bashir's Dream," about a Syrian boy who was paralyzed after being shot by a sniper and dreams of becoming a basketball player. -- Jeanine


That video that's gone viral this week of the dad giving an interview live with the BBC, only to be interrupted by his two small children, found its way to SXSW. The clip was shown during the panel "Turning Data Into Shareable Stories," which offered best practices for turning data into powerful messages. The dad video was thrown up at the end of the panel as an example of something that data can't fix. -- Jeanine

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