How Adobe Is Connecting Virtual Reality With the World of Product Placement

360-degree video mixes atmosphere and ads

Interested in watching the 2015 hit film The Martian from the surface of the moon? Adobe wants you to take you there.

Adobe isn't entering the latest next-generation space race to compete with SpaceX, Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic anytime soon. But it is for the first time entering the worlds of virtual reality and augmented reality through new Adobe Primetime products.

Today, Adobe is debuting Virtual Cinema, a feature that will allow Primetime clients to develop experiences for users to enter a virtual environment. According to Adobe, users will be able to view traditional video in a custom environment—a cinema, home theater or branded atmosphere—and watch existing TV and motion picture content in a new way. There's also potential for product placement within the virtual/augmented reality experience. 

The company is also debuting an offering that will allow delivery of immersive video in 360 or 180 degrees, which allows viewers to look around during playback. Initially, support will be focused on Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard with future plans to add Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

According to Campbell Foster, director of product marketing for Adobe Primetime, the company is extending features for digital rights management playback and ad-insertion capabilities into virtual reality environments while also introducing virtual reality analytics to help media companies better understand what people are looking at and engaging with in VR.

"It's basically taking the reliability and quality of playback engine and putting that into a virtual reality environment," Foster said.

To capitalize on the new video content formats, Adobe is also unveiling a number of monetization models. One offering is Sponsored Playback, which will allow brands to develop and sponsor live broadcasts to bring viewers to the forefront while integrating branded signage or other objects into the viewing space. Brands are in talks with Adobe about the ad opportunity, Foster said. 

Analytics will also be a key component to Adobe's virtual reality suite, along with targeted VR ads. Here's one example from Adobe: If a viewer is looking for a car, software will let Audi pay for a car ad in the space. If the user selects the car, they'll be able to virtually drive around while watching sponsored content. Advertisers will then be charged based on the level of engagement, with varying prices tied to whether a person sees the car, gets in the car or watches a video.

For advertisers wanting to go the "traditional" way, Adobe is enabling pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll ads for both 360 viewing and virtual cinema with a combination of 2D and 360 advertising creative. Products will also be an option inside of a virtual theater.

Maybe it's finally time for Kraft to put cheese on the moon.