A new perspective on the debates


CNN produced a virtual reality version of last Tuesday’s presidential debate telecast and succeeded at what many major media companies have been competing to do since Samsung’s GearVR technology came out.

Not only was this real-time streaming a milestone for CNN technologically speaking, it was also a wise marketing choice. Despite the record 980,000 online viewers, around 73 countries logged onto the VR live stream causing the debates on CNN to be ranked as the #10 cable program with the greatest audience – behind college football games on ESPN and the Fox debate last month.

For the new VR technology streaming, two cameras were installed near the questioners, allowing VR viewers to see how the candidates reacted to each other. Another camera was placed right behind the candidates’ podiums and a fourth camera was embedded in the seating area. With this, anyone with the VR app or the VR headsets had a priviledged 360-degree view of the debate.

According to DJ Roller, co-founder of Next VR and CNN’s partner for the live-stream,“You’d probably get attacked by the Secret Service if you tried to get as close as these cameras! With VR each and every viewer has a seat in the room and a new perspective on presidential debates.”