return Home

Emerging tech for publishers: Google exec on the status of VR

VR has been lauded as the next big opportunity for publishers to deliver a better experience for their audiences. Greg Ivanov, BD Google Play Apps & Games, shares his views on where VR currently stands and how publishers can embrace it…


Greg Ivanov  ()

Gregg will present more on VR at the FIPP World Congress a week from now, 9-11 October, in London. There, his presentation will be part of a block of three sessions looking at emerging opportunities with Voice, with AR, and with VR. For more on the Congress agenda and how to sign up, visit fippcongress.com.

People are increasingly consuming content in new formats via new channels. Which do you feel is driving which – is the demand for new channels the driver or is it that the launch of channels is pulling audiences along? 

It’s always a combination of both. VR is a good example as, on one hand, it’s a medium that majority of people have not even tried yet so consumption is being driven top-down in that sense. On the other hand, as VR and AR scale, there will be emerging demand from users for content in forms that don’t yet exist. 

Turning to VR specifically, how real is VR now and how is it evolving? It feels like there have been some experiments in using VR and a few false starts – but are we now seeing more solid use of VR and a better understanding of what it can be used for/where it can add value? 

The pieces are falling into place. Hardware, software and content are now aligned in a way to allow for the medium to truly take off. The first two elements are able to finally deliver quality VR experiences at scale and at reasonable price points. And as for content creators, they are starting to take VR very seriously by investing in content creation. 

And it’s especially encouraging to see specific B2B-use cases in medicine and education that are starting to build real, sustainable business models based on VR.  

VR can give publishers a whole new way to tell stories, and immerse readers in experiences that matter to their lives every day. Where should they start and do you have a good example? 

The best examples are always those that show a proposition that is unique to VR, that use the medium to radically change perception and create an experience that is not feasible in any other format. ‘First Impressions’ from the Guardian stands out as such an example, but there are many more. 


VR mobile header ()


What are the specific opportunities for publishers here? 

VR offers exciting opportunities to extend publishers’ product and brand to new users and engage existing ones in a completely new way. We also have to be realistic, however. VR is still in nascent stages and can be expensive to produce so we always encourage a thoughtful approach in this regard – those looking for an immediate ROI will not currently find it in VR. It’s an investment stage. 

Where do you feel VR will go in the future and what’s next for VR? 

We’re just scratching the surface. The growth of VR as a medium will go into a new stage in 2018 with an increasing number of phones supporting Daydream and new devices coming to the market. Looking beyond that, the fusion of AR and VR, into what can be called MR (Mixed Reality), is particularly exciting.

Hear more at the FIPP World Congress. See the agenda here.

More like this

Lessons from The New York Times on virtual reality

FIPP Insight report: How to get into VR and 360º videos

How VR, 3D will make journalism more immersive (plus what’s coming next)

Bauer Media’s Empire magazine produces limited edition virtual reality issue

Five media tech trends from May: AI, VR, Snapchat, Chrome ad-blocker, and subscriptions

  • How a ‘digital guy’ ended up running a fast-growing print paper

    We speak to The New European’s editor, Matt Kelly, on pop up publishing, identity media and how a ‘digital guy’ has ended up helming this year’s most noteworthy print success.

    18th Oct 2017 Features
  • New skills will drive future publishing - FIPP chairman

    Without bringing newly skilled people into newsrooms, publishers will not succeed in the future. This was the stark warning delivered by Ralph Büchi, COO of the Ringier Group, CEO of Ringier Axel Springer Switzerland and newly elected chairman of FIPP, the network for global media.

    16th Oct 2017 Features
  • Monetising video: a work in progress

    One of the topics under investigation at this year’s FIPP World Congress in London was the term ‘pivot to video’ and whether, given the relative cost of producing video content off extremely low CPMs (some as low as 15 US cents), pursuing a video strategy one that is paying off for content owners.

    16th Oct 2017 Features
  • Proof that magazine media still deliver the best results for advertisers

    Magazines are a shortcut to quality and continues to deliver top results for advertisers, according to Linda Thomas Brooks, CEO at MPA, USA, said during a keynote on the second day of the FIPP World Congress in London (11 October) last week.

    16th Oct 2017 Features


Visit our Youtube channel


In this article


FIPP newsletters allow you to keep up with industry trends, research, training and events across the world



Get global coverage of your launches, company news and innovations

Go to Full Site