MIPCOM has a habit of predicting the future.
In the past, it has been ahead of the curve with on-demand, digital, mobile, eSports, streaming and much, much more. But it has also avoided the passing fads and focused on the platforms and techniques that have gone on to change the game.
This year, the world’s content marketplace has focused firmly on VR by bringing the leading storytellers from the world’s of film, TV, sport, gaming and finance together to discuss the next frontier for entertainment.
Here in Cannes, the signs are everywhere if you are prepared to look closely. A man in a suit, enjoying an espresso a quiet Old Town Cafe, a VR headset on the table in front of him. Or the group sitting on the deck of a sprawling superyacht in the marina, screaming with laughter as they watch VR content while eating a lavish lunch.
Something has changed over the course of 2016. VR is no longer ‘on it’s way’ – it is here. And with bells on. That is why we at Laduma are also here in force. Not only have we been invited to speak on the opening day but we have also been asked to showcase and, let’s be honest, show-off our extraordinary range of VR content this week.
This year at MIPCOM, the first three days are focused on a series of best-in-class VR sessions, sponsored by Sony. There are panels and talks dedicated to creativity in the space, production challenges, financing and business models. While others will look at the commissioning process, revenue generation and sponsorship.
Sky and Discovery are just some of the media giants sending their leading minds from their own in-house VR departments with the former having launched a new VR studio and app in recent weeks, and the likes of Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Sony and Universal all beginning to invest heavily in their very own teams. VR is here to stay.
The spectacular Laduma space inside the Palais des Festivals, which also acts as home to the Cannes Film Festival, reflects the real magic we believe VR possesses: the ability to transport you. Step inside the mysterious Laduma box this week and open your mind to a cornucopia of experiences from across the world. I’ll say no more.
But what will MIPCOM 2016 really do for VR? It is further evidence of what we at Laduma have known for some time – VR has a vast role to play in changing the way we consume content, interact with the brands we love in the near future. It is further evidence that the players joining us at the table – Google, Facebook, Sony, YouTube, Samsung, Universal, Sky, Fox, Warner Brothers, NBC, BBC and Discovery – are formidable, wealthy and determined. It would take a brave soul to bet against them.
It is, finally, also perhaps a sign that it may already be too late for those who had hoped to be among the early adopters, the ground-breakers, the future-shapers.
MIPCOM is and has always been a place where the best stories, told in the most compelling way, are bought and sold and shared and reviewed. It is the biggest storytelling market place in the world for film and TV. So, perhaps it is no surprise that Virtual Reality is the focus this time around. Because that is all VR is. A way to tell those wonderful stories we have always loved, in an incredible new way. It is a chance to watch those stories not through a through a television screen or a window but from within the story itself – sitting on the same beach as the leading characters, flying through the same sky, walking on to the same sports field, feeling your way inside.
I will leave you with one final thought. It was Maya Angelou who said ‘people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ And that is the key, this week. People will, despite my best efforts, forget my talk at MIPCOM this week. It will fade very quickly. But I know for sure that they will not forget the content we at Laduma show them in VR in Cannes this week. Because it will make them feel something. And that is the brilliance of VR.
Have a fantastic week.