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Gamers aren’t buying the VR hype, and game makers are quietly hedging their bets

This year, things are a bit different at E3. Facebook-owned Oculus bypassed the show, foregoing a booth. HTC, makers of the Vive headset, similarly opted against a formal show-floor presence. And while Sony is still showcasing PlayStation VR, the emphasis is more subdued than in 2016.

This all comes as sales of VR headsets have been softer than some analysts were predicting. To date, neither Oculus nor HTC have given any firm numbers for their headsets, but projections have been soft.

"People are realizing there??s no quality content, so there??s no need to buy these systems," says Ben Schachter of Macquarie Capital.

While the early numbers have been lower than expected, some analysts remain extremely optimistic about the long-term prospects of VR.

"I take issue a little bit, if I??m frank, of the analyst view of the world," says Andrew House, global chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment. "I think they??ve been guilty of potentially too much hype in the category.

"This is VR 1.0. It??s the start of a very long road in terms of the maturation of this new medium. Our view of it was fairly slow and steady... From our perspective, it??s going better than or just as well as we first envisioned."


Customer Experience: all or nothing, Adobe's CEO tells Summit EMEA attendees

The next decade will be even more disruptive for how customers interact with brands. We have virtual reality, voice, and gesture. Companies have spent billions trying to harness these with legacy systems and failed. Smarter experience business needs a new central nervous system.

Ten years ago, Adobe was at the forefront of content creation, but it knew it was not enough. To remain relevant it had to move on to help customers do something with that content, it had to help with their marketing in the cloud. Now smart marketers are focusing on reimagining customer experiences, and the Adobe Experience Cloud has been born.

Brad Rencher, executive vice-president and general manager of digital marketing, underlined how marketing had had to evolve to keep up with changing customer wants and needs.

It’s no longer about marketers telling people what a company offers. Consumers are now telling us what they want, where they want it, when, and how. They want amazing experiences which close the gap between them, and the people, and the things that are important to them.

We must all make a pledge to become experience businesses, we are all stewards on experience.


The one medium you can create, captivate and control

Jeremy Kolesar explained that technology innovation has enriched and expanded cinema?€™s scope but the fundamentals of why a cinema audience is more receptive - why big-screen activity has such impact - remain.

"There?€™s so much value in the shared experience; the medium can create cultural moments."

That captive cinema audience can?€™t skip the commercial -nor would it want to: "What?€™s the point in making something that people aren?€™t going to see to the end? Creatives and film directors want to see their work appear in the best context where it will have the biggest impact.

"The truth is that the best stories still have a beginning, middle and end, and they are most effective when watched in undistracted environments where the viewer can see to the credits."

He said that high engagement can?€™t be achieved on the bus or on a screen just a few inches big. Audiences deserved the best picture, sound and experience possible and so do the creators behind the work: "In many respects, this is the last bastion of true creativity."

To create a true cultural moment, you need the right environment, Kolesar concluded. Cinema gives you that: "When there are so many platforms to choose from, context and how branded content is distributed, is as important as the creative."


How to create film cut-through without the spend

Lisa Jedan, global head of brand PR at Bacardi-Martini: "You need to know what you want to say. What’s the narrative on this film? How do you draw people in and engage them?"

James Myers, global managing director of communications agency TVC: "The difference between above the line and creative brand film is authenticity. We are focused on telling a story to our audience that engages them as opposed to shoving a branded message to them straight away. The branding is secondary to the story."

For Shavaun Glen, chief communications officer at Motor Insurers’ Bureau, trying to get a younger audience thinking and talking about insuring your car (or the perils of not) was the challenge. She explained by resonating with her audiences’ interests and insecurities, the message got through: "You can see that through their channel noise, through sharing.

Dialogue is a key metric for Glen. That’s how she knows the campaign is working: "We use traditional PR and our own channels - alongside paid - to encourage people to look at the message. Then my team spend a lot of time having conversations with people on Facebook and Twitter about what to do to comply with the law."
For Myers, if you generate earned media, you’ve got the content right: "It’s about having the confidence to know that if you’re going to make a piece of content and a film you don’t need to put any paid spend behind it.


Investors have bet more than $150 million that short animations are the future of communication

Many experts believe that we’re moving toward an era of visual communication where people will rely on images more than words.

Giphy is a searchable database of animated images that play on a loop -- technically they’re animated GIFs, but most people simply call them GIFs.

Although the company is not profitable, it has managed to convince a lot of venture investors to bet on it. Since Facebook tried to acquire the company in 2015, Giphy has raised $150.95 million in four rounds of funding, according to Crunchbase.

People are visual creatures, Giphy’s director of marketing Simon Gibson said. However, our technology limitations have forced us to communicate via text — until now.
"It’s a big part of our DNA," said Gibson. "Human beings are programmed to be visual… With tech innovations, visual vernacular is easier to understand and use."

A 2015 study of Canadian media consumption by Microsoft showed human attention spans have dropped to just eight seconds. To find something to capture their attention, people seek shorter videos on platforms like Snapchat and Facebook. GIFs address that challenge and provide "microentertainment."


The story of the British film industry during wartime

The MoI’s main task was to address the needs of a predominantly working-class, disenchanted, under-served and under-respected female audience.

In 1940, before conscription was enforced, the government also needed women to volunteer to replace absent male factory workers.

That urgency was more forcefully expressed at the outbreak of the Blitz when the MoI resorted to “informationals” – short films sandwiched between the features, so that audiences could not escape.

These shorts were part public information, part scripted drama and part documentary. Audiences usually tolerated rather than embraced them.

To keep the films contemporary, the turnover and production time, including the scripting, was conducted at a ferocious pace.

Inevitably with this kind of time pressure and lack of budget, some were doomed to fail, the most notable being A Call For Arms! (1940).

Henceforth it strove to be less patronising in its dramatised informationals, especially towards women.

The unique experience of making films about resistance on the very edge of possible annihilation must have been exhilarating and led to a golden age of British cinema.


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