From the BBC Technology + Creativity Blog:
Over the last few months, the BBC – with huge support from librarians – has brought some of our favourite virtual reality experiences to new audiences in over 150 libraries.
Our research has shown us that viewers find virtual reality experiences uniquely memorable. Yet VR has still to find its place in the home entertainment market. Much like early TV and radio, for now, there’s no habit amongst our audiences for viewing VR at home.
For the BBC, location-based experiences need to sit comfortably with the BBC’s public service goals. The VR Hub wanted to show our latest VR in locations with shared public values that cater to people the BBC might not otherwise reach. Locations spread across a huge geographical area with the space, staff and commitment to run multiple VR events. It was a tall ask.
UK public libraries score high on all these metrics. They’re an ideal low-cost opportunity for audiences to engage with BBC VR, and for the BBC to learn about its impact.
After a successful small trial, working with a group of BBC departments (BBC Rewind (NI), BBC Nations & Regions, BBC Marketing & Audiences) with the help of Libraries Connected, the BBC VR Hub set up a series of library VR pop-ups to run over three months across the widest selection of libraries we could manage.
Our interim results show that people who visited our VR pop-ups in the libraries are three times more likely to recommend it to a friend or family member than any other out-of-home experience. 92% said they would talk about it with other people. The social media amplification has been huge. So far, the tour has featured in around 600 tweets, reaching nearly 800,000 users.