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VR is being touted as the next big thing but it’s not a priority for Netflix, said CEO Reed Hastings in an interview with VentureBeat. “I think it’s going to be huge for the video game market,” Hastings said but he believes it’s a different story when it comes to watching content.
There are two key issues with VR at the moment, according to Hastings and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. First, despite growing interest and adoption of VR following the release of the Oculus Rift this year, the size of the market remains miniscule. Now that Netflix has expanded to 190 countries and has 80 million users watching on 1,000 different platforms the number of potential viewers on VR seems insignificant. “The problem with VR is that there’s not enough people on the platform to support the investment in that kind of content,” Sarandos said.
The second issue relates to the type of experience VR offers. The immersive nature of VR can be exciting in the context of a video game, but it can be too much when it comes to simply watching a movie. “You’re exhausted after 20 minutes,” Hastings said. “We are more focused on a lean-back, relaxing experience.” Sarandos added: “I can’t imagine putting on a VR headset while sitting on the couch with my wife for two hours and just disappearing.”