Facebook Gets Big Brands On Board For Video

While 360-degee videos remain highly experimental, Facebook has convinced a number of brand partners to dive in headfirst.

AT&T, Samsung and Nestle’s Nescafe are on-board with the “spherical” format, the social giant said on Thursday. They are also joined by Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Corona, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ Walt Disney World, and Mondelez brand Ritz.

“360 video … allows them to tell immersive stories, optimized for mobile devices,” a Facebook spokesperson said on Thursday.

Facebook this week also added iOS to its list of partner platforms, so iPhone and iPad users can go “spherical.” Additionally, owners of Samsung Gear VR and supported Samsung smartphones can now play 360 videos from News Feed in their Gear VR.

Encouraging the creation of more 360-degree videos, Facebook has also launched a microsite dedicated to providing relevant resources and information, including upload guidelines, common questions and a set of best practices.

Additionally, Facebook is currently working with several camera makers, including Theta, Giroptic, and IC Real Tech to offer in-app “publish to Facebook” options.

Trying to whet consumer and marketer appetites for virtual environments -- and increase engagement in the process -- Facebook officially rolled out 360-degree videos, in September.

For the effort, the social giant enlisted some big publishers and media brands to start pumping out 360-degree content, including Discovery, GoPro, NBC’s "Saturday Night Live" and Vice.

To create the videos, a special set of two-dozen or so cameras are arranged in spherical form. As a result, when the resulting video is streamed, users can choose what angle they want to see it from.

The greatest potential for the new videos will come when Facebook launches its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset sometime next year.

Facebook is hardly the only player in the 360-degree video space. Last month, for example, Target worked with YouTube to launch a Halloween-themed series, “The House On Hallow Hill,” which featured 360-degees of creepiness.

By 2020, virtual reality will represent a $30 billion market, while augmented reality will be a $120 billion market, according to a recent forecast from Digi-Capital.

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