Toyota, teaming with its social agency 360i, simulated a test drive with
Oculus Rift, Facebook's virtual reality headset. The virtual
experience felt a little rudimentary, but it signalled one of the
growing applications beyond the niche world of gaming. Rothenberg
Ventures, a venture capital firm, converted a barber shop downtown
into a VR showroom, letting visitors test an assortment of
immersive worlds, from a courtside basketball game to a
bomb-stricken Syrian street. Consultancy MediaLink walked marketers
from luxury goods brands and quick-serve restaurants, like Dunkin'
Donuts, through the display.
Start prepping a live-stream strategy
Just as the conference kicked off, the buzziest startup may have
been killed by a tech giant. Meerkat, an app that lets users live
stream video directly onto Twitter, started gaining traction in the
weeks before SXSW. Its young proprieters were zig-zagging around
Austin, dressed in its signature bright yellow. A woman at
Austin–Bergstrom International Airport used Meerkat to live
stream suitcases and duffel bags lapping the baggage carousal.
But then, on Friday, Twitter confirmed it had cut off Meerkat's
lifeline: its access to the platform's social graph. It came
shortly after Twitter announced it had snapped up a competing
service, called Periscope, which has yet to release its
product. (Twitter actually quietly acquired the company in January.
A few agency executives on hand who have seen Periscope in action
were impressed with its design.)
Meerkat's blip on the radar, however, signals that ubiquitious
live streaming could be coming soon. A few agencies have already
toyed with the product, using it to live stream a car launch and a
sports event. And Meerkat could live on. Several attendees
speculated that it could thrive despite Twitter's obstacle --
particularly if it attached itself to a platform like Snapchat.
Snapchat-mania grips media industry.
Publishing executives at SXSW seemed to have one thing on their
minds: Snapchat Discover, the platform inside Snapchat where 11
media companies are publishing articles and videos directly. While
panelists of media execs discussed topics like sponsored content
and native advertising in front of dozens of attendees, their
private cocktail chattered gravitated towards Snapchat.
New-media execs especially are convinced the messaging app --
and messaging apps like it -- represents the future of the
publishing business, and they're angling to get their own companies
on Discover. The open rates on the stories published to Discover
are rumored to be high as are the cost-per-thousand impressions
(CPMs) publishers charge advertisers to appear in the app. (Re/code
reported last week that they're charging $100 CPMs.)
The takeaway for publishers: If you're not already thinking
about how you'll publish to Snapchat and other messaging apps,
you're hopelessly behind the competition. And if you haven't at
least had one meeting with Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, someone at
your company had better arrange one, like, right now.