It may have passed you by but a couple of weeks was back to the future week Or to be precise the date that Marty set on the DeLorean time machine for his trip into the future.

October 21st 2015

I was invited to sit on a panel with Peter Salmon head of BBC studios and Phillip Collins, no not of Genesis fame, but a columnist on ‘The Times’ who was formerly Tony Blair’s speech writer.

We were invited to imagine what the future of the media would be.

It was a wide ranging debate which covered amongst other things the future of the BBC, the pay wall for media – debate the differing approaches of quality media such as the Times which has a paywall, the Guardian which doesn’t and the Telegraph which walks the middle ground between the two allowing some access before the paywall kicks in.

The Zeiss VR One in action on 'The Telegraph' stand the Warwick Universities 'Festival of the Imagination'
The Zeiss VR One in action on ‘The Telegraph’ stand the Warwick Universities ‘Festival of the Imagination’

You could argue that each model has its benefits but I chose to steer clear of the minutiae of the debate to share my own views, you can read more about them in my interview with the Telegraph.

The main thrust of which is that content is King.

Specifically unique quality content which cannot be viewed any other place which is special and adds value to the reader or viewers experience.

Yes, I am biased being a creator of immersive video and stills but it is something I happen to strongly believe in.

How often does it happen that we are browsing the net and we settle on one of our favourite sites only to discover that the media outlet in question has chosen to give great prominence to a middle of the road story which I randomly saw elsewhere as long as two or even three days ago.

At best it can make the reader feel that the outlet in question is a little slow of the mark, at worst if you have chosen to subscribe to a publication and this happens one could feel a little short changed.

My own view on the panel was that media outlets should run with their imaginations – harnessing the considerable talents of their staff to come up with amazing content which people cannot see unless they visit their site – sooner than falling into the ‘me too’ trap of recycling stories.

The New York Times once again is leading the field with its introduction of its excellent NYTVR app which is a powerful and exciting story telling tool allowing readers to virtually travel to some of the most challenging places in the world.

Will this idea fizzle out or will others follow? It could well be a hit with other media outlets following close behind.

Watch this space.

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