We’ve seen it in movies for years. Virtual Reality. Extremely futuristic.  Now it’s apparent that we’re living in the future.  Virtual Reality (and Augmented Reality) is hitting the mainstream thanks to Google, Samsung, Oculus, HTC and others.  It was just announced that Apple has a secret team working on VR. The bet is big – and also long.

eMarketer recently published a study and stated, “one key reason why there’s so much confidence in the future of the immersive medium is the scale of investment that has flowed into companies creating VR and AR products over the past few years. In fact, CB Insights found that between Q1 2014 and Q2 2015, more than $1 billion had been invested across 91 deals.

Although still in its infancy – various manufacturers, developers and publishers have been steadily increasing the amount of apps and content available to the VR-hungry early adopters. On the publisher side, The New York Times has made a big splash into VR and offers several videos that can be viewed with Google Cardboard. GE and Automobile manufacturer, Mini USA hopped on board the Google/NYT’s project with fully immersive and fully branded experiences (read more here). Meanwhile, developers have been flocking to Samsung and Oculus to offer their games and experiences in the app stores.

While VR gaming is probably top-of-mind for most, eMarketer recently published results from Ericsson ConsumerLab which actually showed that the greatest interest for smartphone users was shopping.  Also ranking high was watching sports. Retail and Sports – two industries that generate a lot of advertising revenue. Currently, advertising hasn’t really proliferated the VR World. It’s one of the next new frontiers. But it’s inevitable, as with other mediums, that VR will grow as a revenue stream for content providers.

RhythmOne is excited about this new frontier and has already been actively engaging with advertisers about their needs for 360 video (the gateway “drug” to VR), taking those inputs and translating those into product enhancements that can be supported across all of our platforms to engage consumers with these new virtual concepts.

The industry needs to get ahead of the VR/AR advertising revolution. Content producers, advertisers, distribution partners, and the ad tech space will need to work together to develop specs and standards that will let the medium, literally, take-off.