MLB Brings Popular “At Bat” App To Daydream VR

What Happened
Major League Baseball (MLB) is bringing its popular At Bat app into VR for an immersive and interactive viewing experience for baseball fans. Soon to become available on Google’s Daydream VR platform, the app lets fans watch live games and simultaneously check up on real-time stats with multiple floating screens that they can turn to and zoom in. Unfortunately, the app is yet to support watching the games in 360-degree video, but there are other 360-degree content produced by MLB available in the app.

What Brands Need To Do
According to ComScore, the At Bat app is one of the most popular streaming services for sports, hogging the top spot on the total-grossing sports app chart in the App Store for years. While the choice of platform may limit its adoption, given the fact that only a handful of Android handsets currently support Daydream VR. it nevertheless underscores MLB’s willingness to experiment with the emerging medium and improve its content delivery so as to let viewers engage with their content more intensively.

Live sports are widely regarded as the last bastion against the declining live TV ratings, but with more and more sports leagues signing deals like this one to make their content available on digital platforms, more and more viewers are migrating to those new platforms as well. Therefore, brands seeking to reach sports fans will need to follow along by adjusting their media mix.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: The Verge

Twitter Partners With CBS To Live Stream Democratic And Republican Conventions

What Happened
Following up on its quest for more live sports events, Twitter has announced that it is partnering up with CBS News to livestream the upcoming Democratic and Republican conventions later this month. Similar to its live coverage of the Wimbledon games last week, the live streams will be enhanced with convention-related tweets. This is not the first time Twitter has worked with CBS to cover the election as Twitter used the CBS News’ feed for its live coverage of two presidential debates in November and January. The stream will be available globally to any visitor to Twitter’s site or apps with no log-in required.

Why Brands Should Care
As Twitter continues to build out its livestream capabilities, it is becoming clear that it is taking a different approach than its archrival Facebook. Whereas Facebook is paying publishers and celebrity to use its live video products and encouraging user-generated live content, Twitter is mainly focused on courting media owners to cover high-profile media events, be it political conventions or sports games, and leverage those events to attract and engage with users.

Naturally, the differing approaches of the two platforms resulted in different ways of monetization. Live content on Facebook is more suited to product integration and sponsorships, whereas Twitter’s live streams rely on ad sales for now, functioning more like a digital and social extension of the traditional broadcasting system. Despite the differences, there is no denying that live video content is exploding, and it would be beneficial for brands to understand the nuances of different live-streaming platforms and choose the ones that best fit their campaign goals.

 


Source: AdWeek

Fast Forward: What Marketers Need To Know About Facebook’s F8 Event

Your guide to tech-driven changes in the media landscape by IPG Media Lab. A fast read for you and a forward for your clients and team.

• Facebook launched Messenger Platform to help brands to communicate with users
• Live Video with API strengthens video and video ads on Facebook
• New tools for app owners and VR content creators

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What Facebook Announced
At its annual developer conference on Wednesday, Facebook discussed their ten-year roadmap and introduced a number of new features to improve its platform and make it easier for brands to connect with Facebook users. Following Microsoft’s launch of a bot framework two weeks ago, Facebook is introducing chat bots and developer tools to its messaging app with the debut of Messenger Platform. During his opening keynote, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demoed chat bots from CNN and 1-800-Flowers to showcase how chat bots can help publishers and businesses communicate with users on Messenger. While there will not be a curated bot store, the Messenger team does promise to help with discovery, mostly via search.

Facebook also introduced a Live API so that developers can live stream video to Facebook from any app or device. The new API should vastly expand the reach of Facebook’s Live video broadcasts as it allows lots of new broadcasting methods, like the use of multiple cameras, drones, and new devices. This is in sharp contrast to Facebook’s biggest live-stream competitor, Twitter’s Periscope, which requires streaming from a single smartphone. Therefore, FB Live can scale from a front-facing smartphone camera through TV production quality equipment and has already shown it can draw audiences that rival cable TV with the right content.

Moreover, Facebook is diving deeper into virtual reality with an open-source Surround 360 camera rig to help professional content creators capture 360-degree video with minimal post-processing. It is also looking to ship the Touch controllers for Oculus VR later this year to add interactivity to virtual reality. Zuckerberg also teased some multiplayer features that Facebook is working on to make virtual reality a more social experience.

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Facebook continues to build out its ecosystem with to two new tools: Account Kit and a new “Save to Facebook” button. With Account Kit, developers can streamline account signup and login, extending the popular “Login with Facebook” feature to users without Facebook accounts. Facebook is also expanding the four-year-old “Save for Later” feature with a new “Save to Facebook” button, which enables users to save content from third-party sites to read or watch later in the Saved tab Facebook.

Facebook also shared some interesting stats on its fast-loading Instant Articles program. Since launch, Facebook says posts in Instant Articles have logged 20% more opens and a 70% lower abandonment rate than other content. They also report an average of 30 seconds of engagement on Canvas Ads.

What Brands Need To Do

• Develop useful bots to reach customers on the messaging apps they’re already using
• Take advantage of the emerging popularity of live streaming to connect with consumers in real time
• Start producing branded VR and 360 video content to immersively engage consumers

As Messenger hits 900 million monthly users, there is no denying that it is important for brands to be present on Facebook’s messaging platform to connect with those users. With the launch of Messenger Platform, Facebook is making it possible for brands to build bots to communicate and serve customers directly on Messenger. For example, Facebook showcased a shopping assistant bot from Spring, which suggests appropriate items for shoppers to purchase directly on Messenger. Facebook’s demo shows that chat bots can be trained with basic responses on a web interface with no code while more in-depth responses require custom development, aided by Facebook’s new Bot Engine tools. Particularly interesting here is the Customer Matching feature, which allows brands to sync up customer profiles and conversations across Messenger and SMS.

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With the Live API, Facebook is making it easier for brands and developers to integrate its relatively new live-streaming feature into their apps, platforms, and even devices. As we noted recently, live-streaming video is starting to blow up thanks to Facebook. Live video content lends an authentic touch to brands, which millennials seem to embrace. For brands looking to experiment with live-streaming, they should be prepared on the technical front to ensure a smooth broadcast, but also willing to roll with the punches and embrace the unexpected.

As Facebook makes a strong push for VR and 360-degree videos, brands would be smart to seize the opportunity and work closely with content creators to craft interactive VR experiences to intrigue and engage consumers. The new Facebook Surround 360 camera should be a great tool for brands to produce 360-degree content, and the coming interactive and social features should help make virtual reality a more powerful tool for brands to create immersive branded content to engage their audiences with.

How We Can Help
The Lab is actively producing 360 content, chat bots, and live social video products for our clients. Please contact Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) if you would like more detail or to schedule a visit to the Lab to discuss how your brand can better serve your customers with these emerging platforms.

For previous editions of Fast Forward, please visit ipglab.com. Please reply with any constructive criticism or feedback. We want these to be as useful as possible for you and your clients, and your input will help us immensely.

 


All pictures featured courtesy of the F8 Livestream

Yahoo’s NFL Stream Proves Livestreaming Sports Is Still A Few Years Away

What Happened
On Sunday, Yahoo livestreamed the NFL game it acquired for about $17 million by putting it on the homepage of its website and setting to autoplay. The livestream drew 15.2 million unique viewers overall, but only averaged 2.36 million viewers throughout the game, significantly less than what NFL games usually get on TV. While no major disruption or technical issue occurred during the game, Yahoo’s livestream received mixed reviews from the viewers, who took to Twitter to voice their dissatisfactions, mostly over the fact that they couldn’t watch it on TV.  

Market Impact
All things considered, Yahoo’s livestream of the Bills-Jaguars game is a well-executed experiment that the NFL tried in order to gauge the viability of broadcasting its content online. Judging by the largely mixed results, it looks like the ecosystem of sports watching – where many viewers still prefer to watch it on TV either in sports bars or at home – has yet to catch up with the TV industry’s shift towards OTT viewing. The average viewership number suggests that moving sports event online is still at least a few years away from reality.

 


Source: Re/Code

Livestream Brings Videos To Roku

Livestream debuted a new app for Roku’s streaming devices that will allow viewers to watch Livestream events and archived on-demand videos from their TVs. The new app is Livestream’s first attempt to bring live channels to a connected TV device, and it turns out that the company was waiting on the ability to stream mostly HD content. Now that that threshold has been crossed, the streaming service decided that it wants to make a transition from a channel-based program to an event-based display, where all events that are happening at present are displayed front and center. In addition to this selection of live events, users can scroll through archived shows and games to get on demand streams. By allowing Roku to handle distribution to their audience of millions, Livestream’s content – which includes over 60 local news stations, along with live streams from The New York Times, The AP, Warner Bros. Records, and more – will expand its reach drastically into the cord-cutting space.