April 15, 2024

Emerging Trends & Market Opportunities in Storytelling - part 2

Emerging Trends & Market Opportunities in Storytelling - part 2

The following was updated January 2022

Welcome part 2 of Emerging Trends & Market Opportunities in Storytelling. Below you’ll find a look at Branded Storytelling, VR, Narrative Gaming, Digital Influencers and Multi-channel Networks. If you haven’t already make sure to checkout part 1.

The following is a collection of interesting trends and market opportunities that I referenced during my lecture. Feel free to share anything that we may have missed. One of the goals for the semester is to help build a series of open resources that focus on new forms and functions of storytelling.

Branded Stories

In 2017 Brands embrace experiential, agencies double down on digital advertising spends. Immersive experiences and experiments continue to emerge as Brands struggle to find meaningful ways to engage.

Get dropped into the center of a thriller with Absolute

Land Rover utilizes social platforms in unique ways

The Vanishing Game by William Boyd

Immerse yourself in the famed author’s latest thrilling adventure, storytelling presented by Land Rover in a way you’ve…


Traditional Media buys into Immersive

The New York Times acquires Fake Love

The New York Times Buys Fake Love, Another Marketing Agency

'Design Driven Experiential Agency' The New York Times, as part of an ongoing effort to offer more creative and…


Immersive Pop-ups

29rooms — Refinery29

Immersive Pop-ups become fixed installations that make millions

Museum of Ice Cream

The museum that defines the Instagram age wants visitors to ditch their phones

The Museum of Ice Cream pops on camera. Celebrities like Beyoncé flock to the museum to pose amidst plastic bananas…


Mixed Reality

VR makes a multi-billion dollar come back. Can it move from tech to a full blown medium? Sundance doubled down on VR this past January.

Illustrative filmmaking in real-time with Oculus

Step into the Page

VR headsets go untethered &

Oculus Quest review: a great vision with a frustrating compromise

According to Google, the term "VR for the masses" dates back to at least 1994 when it referred to the Nintendo Power…


Evolving Beyond VR

At Sundance, Virtual Reality Filmmakers Are Evolving Beyond VR

It was bound to happen. When you work with the folks in the room who always want to be the first to take a risk, the…


Enter The Collider: Chapter One — Anagram

“Enter The Collider, a machine built to decipher the mysteries of human relationships. This is the story of the space between people — and the electric, magnetic and caustic materials that pass between us. There’s the air temperature and humidity levels in a room in which two people fight, or the exact distance between peaceful lovers. In every exchange, there’s flesh and bone — human matter — and there are other sorts of matter.” — IDFA doc lab

The Collider: Chapter One | IDFA

Anagram — 2018 — Enter The Collider, a machine built to decipher the mysteries of human relationships. This is the…


Anagram | The Collider

As we witness the rise in xenophobic Western governments, the development of sophisticated technology and the…


VR_I — Cie Gilles Jobin & Artanim

“For the first time ever, a choreographer combines dance with immersive virtual reality in a work that provides viewers with a unique sensory experience. Blending art with technology, VR_I resulted from the encounter between Gilles Jobin and the founders of Artanim, Caecilia Charbonnier and Sylvain Chagué, motion capture technology experts and virtual reality pioneers in Switzerland and abroad. In association with them, Gilles Jobin developed VR_I, a work in which the creator questions our perception of reality and enters new unexplored and unchartered territories for contemporary dance. Thanks to the virtual reality technology developed by Artanim, VR_I viewers equipped with virtual reality heads”


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Interview⎢”Technology must be transparent” — Gilles Jobin #VeniceVR on XRMust

THE PAST — Background & first experiences I am a contemporary dance choreographer. I have been active since 1995…


The Great C — Secret Location

“The Great C,” which is based on a Philip K. Dick short story of the same name, clocks in at just above 30 minutes, and spans 20 unique environments. Luke Van Osch, who produced the animated film for the Toronto- and Los Angeles-based VR startup Secret Location, told Variety during a recent interview that many of the existing VR experiences out there still felt like a demo for the technology itself.

The goal with “The Great C” was to create something that felt “substantial,” he said. “We wanted to make something that feels like a rich and rewarding piece on its own.” — Variety

Venice: Secret Location’s ‘The Great C’ Takes an Ambitious Stab at Long-Form VR

When the Venice Film Festival opens its doors this week, audiences will once again get to see a number of virtual…


VR studios & Communities expand into AR

VR is expected to be a top $70 billion by 2020 source re/code



Experience the best in Virtual Reality storytelling directly on your computer, smart phone, or VR headset.


Within introduces new AR app and platform


Wevr raises $25 million in its quest to become the YouTube of virtual reality content


Samsung Opens VR studio in NYC

Samsung is opening a VR studio in New York City

The library of things you can play and watch on a Gear VR headset is growing, but Samsung doesn’t think it’s growing…


HTC Starts a 10 million fund for purpose driven VR

HTC launches $10 million VR fund to promote the planet's sustainability

HTC has launched a $10 million virtual reality fund for content and technologies that will drive sustainable…


Oculus Story Studio CLOSES


Facebook Is Shutting Down Its Award-Winning Oculus Story Studio

UPDATED: Oculus Story Studio, the award-winning studio behind virtual reality (VR) short films like "Dear Angelica" and…


Going beyond the VR headset

Development to enhance and extend the VR experience beyond the headset is growing with a variety of established players, universities and startups experimenting in the space.

Full-body tracking in VR

Developer shows off experimental full-body tracking in VR

This is pretty cool


Fly like a bird

The Void — Ghostbusters full body VR experience

A VR suit with haptic feedback

Welcome to the Holodeck

Step into the Cube: Virginia Tech’s giant virtual reality room

An interdisciplinary research project is keeping VR weird From the outside, I look like the worst stereotype of a VR…


Intel Volumetric VR/AR Capture Studio in LA

Intel Opens Los Angeles Studio for Volumetric VR/AR Video Productions

Intel wants to help Hollywood embrace the next generation of immersive media: The chip maker officially announced the…


Projection mapping

Within your Feed

Facebook Live hosts a interactive mystery

Facebook Live hosts groundbreaking interactive murder mystery

What would you do if you found yourself in a locked room with a dead body, and only an hour to solve the crime before…


Social VR in your feed

Chat Fiction Apps

Yarn raises $13 million for its subscription storytelling app

Yarn App

From Techcrunch: “Mammoth also created Yarn, one of the apps delivering fiction in a text message format. The company says that the average Yarn subscriber (pricing starts at $2.99 per week) spends 50 minutes reading in the first week. According to App Annie, Yarn has been the number one books app in a number of countries, including the United States.

The app recently launched Hack’d, a horror series featuring Musical.ly star Kristen Hancher. Vatere said we can expect to see more series starring social media influencers — after spotting reaction videos to Yarn content, his team thought, “Why not, instead of having them react to the story, have them in the story itself?”

Narrative Gaming

What do you call something that is too narrative to be a game but too interactive to be a narrative?

GRIS a game that leaves the story open for interpretation


Firewatch is a mystery set in the Wyoming wilderness, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio.

The year is 1989.

You are a man named Henry who has retreated from your messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched atop a mountain, it’s your job to find smoke and keep the wilderness safe.

An especially hot, dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio — and is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind.

But when something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world below, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making interpersonal choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have.

Gone Home

“You arrive home after a year abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but the house is empty. Something’s not right. Where is everyone? And what’s happened here?

Gone home is an interactive exploration simulator. Interrogate every detail of a seemingly normal house to discover the story of the people who live there. Open any drawer and door. Pick up objects and examine them to discover clues. Uncover the events of one family’s lives by investigating what they’ve left behind.

Go home again.”

Gone Home: A Story Exploration Video Game

Gone home is an interactive exploration simulator. Interrogate every detail of a seemingly normal house to discover the…


Her Story

“Her Story grants players access to a police database of archived video footage that covers seven interviews from 1994 in which a British woman is interviewed by detectives about her missing husband. Players take on the role of the person sat before a police computer terminal, their own computer or device playing the part of the fictional computer. They type search queries and the database returns clips of the answers where the woman speaks those words.”


Plug & Play

“PLUG & PLAY is an award winning Short Film and Game for your digital device. Explore the feelings of anthropoid creatures that go beyond sexuality and reproduction: love. PLUG & PLAY is a surreal play with plugs.”


PLUG & PLAY is an award winning Short Film and Game for your digital device


Physical Controllers

Digital Discovery

The establishment just opens their gates a bit wider. While it’s easier than ever to reach audiences directly, creators still equate success with traditional management and representation.

Kung Fury

40 Days of Dating

Digital Infulencers

Digital Influencers continue to land brand, series, book and film deals. A new tier of $1 to $3 million dollar features emerge as star vehicles for those wishing to crossover.

Forbes Top Influencers: These 30 Social Media Stars Rule Entertainment, Gaming And Travel

In the second of Forbes' quarterly Top Influencers lists, meet the power players turning social media audiences on…


Next Gen Content Studios take two

Content looks to get social by adopting studio models such as talent bundling, exclusive contracts and aggregating audiences.

TikToc Content Collectives

Hype House and the Los Angeles TikTok Mansion Gold Rush

The city is home to a land rush of "collab houses," where the content creators are getting younger and younger. Hype…


The rise of the political meme

TikTok never wanted to be political. Too late.

As 24 million acres of Australia burned in record bushfires between September and January, Australian teens turned to…


Streaming Subscriptions are everywhere over 250 and counting



Wait, Did WarnerMedia Just Make A Huge Leap Forward In the Streaming Wars?

For those who may have slipped out a bit early last week ahead of the long fourth of July break and been planted firmly…



Disney+ Could Already Have 25 Million Subscribers, 7 Weeks After Launch

A survey of consumers suggested that Disney+ could already have 25 million subscribers just seven weeks after it became…



Netflix Projected to Spend More Than $17 Billion on Content in 2020

Netflix is keeping its foot pressed firmly on the gas pedal in the streaming-video road race. The streamer will invest…


Agencies feel the pinch

After a rough 2019, Hollywood's talent agencies brace for more uncertainty

Talent agencies are under growing pressure to raise capital to finance growth at time of rapid changes in the media…



Welcome to an experiment. I’m teaching a New Media Producing Class at Columbia University and I’ve decided to open the teaching process. Over the course of the semester myself, the class, and a number of guest speakers will be sharing thoughts, projects, tech, and ideas that explore storytelling in the 21st Century. You can follow along on the Columbia DSL medium publication, and/or the living breathing syllabus for the course.

New Media Producing — Building Storyworlds: the art, craft & biz of storytelling in 21c

Columbia University School of the Arts

Professor: Lance Weiler

writer, director & experience designer

Lance Weiler


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