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Arnab to start 'original VR journalism' on Republic World

MUMBAI: For the first-ever time in India, Republic TV is all set to launch VR television next week. This was announced at Zee Melt, one of the biggest festival for disruptive marketing and communications under way at Mumbai.

Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami said that VR will have a separate and original feed on Republic World digital platform.

"We have got cameras, we have studios and we are shooting in VR. It will be available on all native devices and will take us to a new level -- it is going to be principally journalism," Goswami said.

"It will come to you free of cost but you will have to use your VR gear," he added. Republic World has tied up with American and Canadian companies on the technology front, he said.

Virtual Reality (VR) is the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.

Is VR really how we will all watch TV in years to come? At an earlier media industry’s annual meet in Cannes, VR was discussed as the next mass medium that will take TV to a new level.

Films such as The Lawnmower Man and The Matrix, as well as books such as Ready Player One presented visions of technology whereby strapping on a VR headset enabled people to explore virtual, computer-generated worlds, the Guardian had reported.

In 2017, these cultural highs are fresh in mind for the television industry, as it tries to understand whether real-life headsets can be used to deliver new forms of documentary, drama, and storytelling.

Several attempts to make VR a real-world success had failed. The release of a new-generation VR headsets, however, from Sony, HTC, Google, Samsung, and Facebook-owned Oculus VR has brought the technology back to prominence.

At MIPTV industry conference in Cannes, VR was a major theme for producers, broadcasters and tech companies alike. HTC’s Rikard Steiber had said that VR, the new computing platform, was going to be the next mass medium.

VR is however far less popular than apps. YouTube has over a billion monthly viewers and Instagram has over 600 million. VR experts however agree that only around 20 million headsets have been sold, including fewer than two million of the “tethered” devices, which require a connection to a powerful computer.

Republic TV COO Jay Chauhan said: “Virtual Reality is the first of our initiatives to bring new content experiences to the audience. It's a cool way of storytelling because it transports people right to where the action is - no barriers stand in the way. Besides it also opens up new monetisation opportunities for us.”

He further added, “The VR content will be available on RepublicWorld.com, as a new stream and the company's newly-constituted VR Cell built in collaboration with experts from across the globe will begin rolling out amazing VR content in the weeks ahead.”

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