Metauniverse in Broadcast?
By Asier Anitua, EMEA & LATAM Business Development Manager at Telefónica Servicios Audiovisuales
With the Facebook universe changing name into to META, a new buzzword has emerged: metauniverse, or metaverse (as it is also called).
In our broadcast and production environments, this may not have much capillarity, but nonetheless it could end up catching on.
The features of the broadcast metaverse are the immersivity of a live event on a television program into an interactive artificial universe. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced 3D graphics are used to, for example, broadcast a sports competition in a way that increases realism and immersion levels of viewers. Use cases have already occurred in golf championships in South Korea.
Broadcasters, without neglecting their daily work, must already think about the disruption that will take place in years to come so they will be able to stay at the top of the entertainment ecosystem.
How can the broadcast audiovisual world be integrated into this multiverse? Does it make sense to get on this train?
Tomorrow on the Internet seems to be heading to a multiuniverse and describes a future featuring persistent 3D virtual spaces that are shared and linked to a perceived virtual universe. It occurs both in entertainment and in business. A proof of this is teleworking, which is strongly gaining ground after the pandemic, so what if it were done in a virtualized environment?
Let’s imagine how today’s youth will perceive television in a few years. Either they will have an ultra-large screen or they will leap into the augmented reality of VR glasses. Broadcasters need to be ready for both scenarios: they must focus on generation of content with higher resolutions and definition, jump to 4K or 8K bandwagon and, in parallel, have content generated in V360 or even in virtual reality environments, whether consumption takes place in the metaverse or in the broadcasters’ own apps.
Audiovisual content creators must be prepared to allow viewers access to augmented reality content that complements a “classic” television program. Such as, for example, program characters and objects that may become interactive with users through their Androids, iPhones, tablets or iPads.
We understand that the broadcast metaverse will be an additional means of communication between viewers and broadcasters. Apparently, the metauniverse is regarded as Internet 3.0, so it is important to be vigilant.
TV viewing time, as we know it today, tends to decrease simply because the supply is constantly increasing and a day has only 24 hours, of which only some are devoted to entertainment. If there is an increasing offer, VOD, OTT, games, metaverse… this means that viewers will spend less time watching television as we know it today. This is why it is relevant to include a TV component in these new ecosystems. Let’s imagine a future in 10 years, for example, where viewers put on VR glasses for their entertainment in the cyber world, that metauniverse. Walk with their avatar through the big city and see on a big screen a live event, a match of their favorite sport that is being broadcast by the relevant broadcaster on all platforms and devices. This is where the synergy of the various worlds will lie, in live events: sports, news programs and others where viewer interaction will be the key, whereas watching them on time delay will lack any appeal and even any kind of interest.
Facebook (now META), Disney, Nike, Balenciaga… are just some of the companies that are driving these cyberworlds known as metaverses. In these environments, TV has the opportunity making it on time and, for example, interacting with viewers as audience of a program or have a guest who will be a virtual avatar (this is reminiscent of Max Headroom, an iconic TV series from the 80s)… Hybrid, mixed or 100% virtual possibilities are huge.
This series of platforms can only exist by relying on the decentralization and protection offered by Blockchain.
Democratization of software, thus minimizing the costs of augmented and virtual reality, and the increasingly widespread use of Unreal in presentations with virtual environments are the beginning of this new universe that, without a doubt, we will see grow in coming years.
Telefónica’s 5G and the future 6G will help accelerate the entire implementation of these cybernetic multiverses. The amount of information that will move on the Internet will grow exponentially and will provide users with access wherever and whenever they want.
Virtual reality first is undoubtedly to come, just as Internet accesses today are mobile first.