insights & news > Insights

Next-gen Streaming: What Do Users Expect from XR Experience?

José Somolinos

Solutions Strategist and XR Lead

June 4, 2024

Download

Download Now

Download

Download Now

Share

While XR’s potential is boundless, it is easy to get carried away dreaming up the next XR development that transforms your video streaming service. OTT service providers should ask themselves the million-dollar question - what do their users really want? 

Focusing on real user expectations and using user-driven insights will result in better decision-making and more meaningful advancements. In a consumer research conducted earlier this year, Accedo asked OTT services users globally what kind of next-generation features they expect to be popular in video streaming services in the next 5 years. We found that 56% of users believe virtual interaction with others will become popular, 45% anticipate immersive video experiences, 41% expect in-video shopping capabilities, and 36% the use of in-video information overlays.

Let us explore each of these exciting features in detail.

1. Real-time social interaction

OTT consumers highly value XR experiences that enhance their social interactions and facilitate building deep connections with others. One of the most compelling aspects of XR, particularly in virtual reality (VR), is its ability to provide a gathering space where starting a conversation with a stranger is sometimes maybe easier than in the real world. In VR, users can find more opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals through discussion rooms, games, watch-together, and other shared experiences. 

The results of our research show that the concept of virtual interaction with other users is more popular among the younger age group (age 18-35) compared to the older (age 35-54). We believe that as the new generations grow up and enter the market, this trend will become even stronger. The users of tomorrow are the kids of today, many of whom are avid users of platforms like Rec Room, Roblox, and Fortnite. These platforms have long forged a virtual community that goes beyond playing a game, enabling real-time social interactions, and fostering a generation accustomed to immersive and interactive virtual environments. As these users grow older, they will likely demand more sophisticated content and experiences on these platforms, aligning with XR’s capabilities to enhance realism and engagement.

Being able to interact with the environment and people in real-time is also desirable. In fact, according to our consumer research, live sports and live concerts are the two most popular types of content among the users we surveyed. When asked which types of VR content they would be interested in watching, 56.10% picked live concerts and 50.15% live sports - the figures significantly higher than those for reality shows (36.9%) or behind-the-scenes videos (28.15%). The result undoubtedly underscores the high demand for real-time events. Sports and music fans gather today in stadiums, cheering with complete strangers who support the same team or artist. Why not in the virtual world?

2. Immersive video

Users seek immersive video experiences that make them feel part of the action, increasing their engagement and entertainment. For many, the key to a truly immersive experience lies in the feeling of presence of the virtual environment. When XR environments make you feel you are standing or sitting in a different place, imaginary or realistic, it lowers the adoption curve for new users. 

The experience doesn't need to be entirely "believable" to be effective. Given the right sensory cues, such as high-quality visuals and sound, users can feel deeply immersed and respond behaviorally as if the experience were real, regardless of its actual graphic style. Different audiences will feel more comfortable with different styles. For example, classic fans would want to experience the digital twin of their favorite team’s stadium, while younger generations may prefer a more cartoonish style

To meet these expectations, video services can leverage technologies like high-definition visuals, immersive videos, and interactive storylines that offer deeper involvement in the content. Specifically, immersive videos should provide experiences that are also emotionally compelling, enabling users to connect with the content almost as if they were at the actual event.

Image: Apple

We can see these elements present in Apple’s Vision Pro, as one of the most successful immersive experience deliveries as of today. The device lets users interact with digital content in a way that feels like it is physically present in their space, with super sharp video, comfortable camera takes, and beautiful storytelling. 

3. In-video shopping experience

In-video shopping indicates the ability to purchase products seamlessly while watching videos, without disrupting their viewing experience, and users will expect this integrated shopping feature to be both convenient and interactive. 

So how can it be done? Interactive overlays can display product information and purchase options directly within the video, allowing users to engage without pausing or navigating away. AI-driven recommendation engines can analyze user behavior to suggest products that match their preferences and the products can be seen in the users’ space using augmented reality (AR). 

When asked if they are comfortable with the use of AI to provide personalized experiences, 38.9% of our research respondents said they were completely okay with it, while only 8.4% said no. The rest had certain hesitation but did not completely dismiss the idea. To get more buy-in from users, streaming services need to not only educate users and help them understand how their data is being used, but also make sure the AI integration feels natural and adds value to the overall viewing experience, rather than being intrusive. Users will accept the AI small privacy tradeoffs if the experience they are getting is superior to before. 

4. In-video information overlays

We mentioned above that interactive overlays can help enhance in-video shopping, but they can be used in many different scenarios. For instance, in educational videos, such as documentaries or news programs, overlays can provide additional context, background information, or definitions of complex terms, enhancing the learning experience. In entertainment content, such as movies or TV shows, information overlays can offer behind-the-scenes insights, character bios, or trivia, enriching the viewer’s engagement with the content. 

In live sports broadcasts, overlays can display real-time statistics, player information, and other dynamic data, giving fans a deeper understanding of the game. These interactive elements empower users, allowing them to customize their viewing experience and access the information they find most interesting and useful. For example, the NAB app for Vision Pro enables users to watch all the games on a large screen while having live stats and multi-camera options on side panels. While this application is simple, it shows the potential of how data can be presented to users in a non-intrusive way. 

NAB app on Vision Pro: Fans can access real-time team and player stats.

Conclusion

When considering your next XR development, it is essential to note that not all regions and age groups will embrace spatial computing simultaneously. Depending on your user type, streaming services will need to tailor the XR experiences to cater to the diverse preferences of their target audience. 

We cannot yet imagine all the new ways of interacting that the next-gen technologies will bring, as we couldn’t imagine the immense market value of TikTok or Instagram when the first iPhone was released. But we see all the signs from users that the next generation of streaming will be enriched with XR. Who doesn’t want to start this fantastic new journey for the next decade?

Download nowDownload now

Share this article

Want to take your video business to the next level?

Let's collaborate to define what is next for your OTT streaming service.

Contact Us
x