For its coverage of the aftermath of the 2017 wildfire season in Portugal, Euronews added a layer of spatialised 360-degree audio on top of the 360-degree footage, in order to boost the immersion factor.

Immersive journalism business models?

As part of this drive, 360-degree videos and VR experiences are Euronews’ key offerings

Since the launch of its immersive journalism project in July 2016, Euronews has published over 140 virtual reality (VR) experiences and 360-degree videos on a variety of platforms. These include the Euronews website, mobile website, apps, social media platforms and 360-degree dedicated websites, where more than 13.5 million views have been garnered.

The receptiveness to 360-degree and VR content has been encouraging, as Thomas Seymat, VR editor at Euronews, told APB: “Anecdotally, we have noticed people in comments, mentioning less the technology used for the report, and more on the content of the videos. This suggests that our audience is past the discovery phase, past the wow effect, and is focusing on our reporting.”

Another recent initiative saw Euronews announcing a partnership with The Dream VR — a technology provider and producer of 360-degree content — to publish 360-degree content on smart TVs worldwide.

Very visual content, such as extreme sports, is a good fit for 360-degree video, said Seymat, although he acknowledged that not all content is necessarily suitable. “A CEO commenting on a company’s quarterly result, and sitting in his or her office wouldn’t be interesting content.

“But, a good story is a good story, and the strength of immersive journalism is to bring your audience with you on the ground to help them understand the situation. In that sense, the scope of content suited for immersive journalism is wider than one can think of initially.”

Looking into the future, Euronews is also convinced that immersive journalism will continue to strengthen as a tool in its journalists’ toolbox, while 360-degree video will continue to be used to cover both hard and soft news in 2018.

Seymat added: “We aim to grow our audience and build a business model to sustain our immersive journalism workflow. Participating in that is the fact that 360 video is now a product our sales teams can pitch to their clients for sponsored and branded content — this is one of the revenue streams that we have identified.”

Also in the pipeline is the building of a specific space on the Euronews website to collect all of the news agency’s 360 and VR experiences to make it easier for audiences to find them — in the most immersive way possible.

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