YouTube is dialing up its plans to become the go-to platform for virtual reality, as the amount of Google Cardboards in circulation hits five million and 360 content uploads double since March.
For Debbie Weinstein, YouTube’s director of brand innovation, the site is already “a 3D content experience”. She told The Drum at Cannes: “Cardboard actually brings the access to all of the entire library of YouTube's content for anyone to experience in VR.
“We know that we need more and more content, so that's where we're very much working with our YouTube creator population – and doing things in YouTube spaces around the world - to actually educate them on how they can make the most of this capability, to tell their stories in an even more immersive way.”
Weinstein is also confident that the current costs of producing a high-quality 360 video (Nokia’s Ozo camera currently retails at $60,000) will soon dissipate. “Today everyone really has a video camera in their pocket,” she explained.
“You use a smartphone to capture video, and we think more and more devices at the very low end will be able to capture a 360 video. So we really think that that's going to be less of a constraint moving forward.”
YouTube has already rolled a suite of 360 advertising capabilities for brands, including organic content, pre-roll, TrueView, masthead sponsorship and throughout Google Preferred. Weinstein believes this ad offering, as well as the profilic reach of YouTube, means the platform is primed and ready for an influx of branded 360 content.
“You can actually find more 18 to 34 years on YouTube on mobile devices alone than on a TV network,” she said. “So when it comes to reach, I think we're in a good place.
“Then you can partner that with the incredible impact of virtual reality, which really is the ultimate expression of what brands always have wanted - creating an immersive experience for their consumers.”