Program Proposal

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Executive Summary
Beyond Our Reality is a new podcast about the joys of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences, with a focus on fun and mainstream accessibility. It’s a program for people who think that VR/AR is cool, but may not have a whole lot of technical know-how about pixels and processing power. Most of the existing shows about VR/AR are intended for industry insiders and hardcore enthusiasts, so BoR’s casual-friendly tone and focus on new releases will fit in nicely with the expansion and mainstream adoption of VR/AR technologies that is expected to occur in the next few years.

Consisting of a series of standard and special segments, the show will be 45-60 minutes in length and will be released three times per month on all major podcast platforms and on YouTube and Soundcloud. BoR will begin life as an ad-supported program, and will eventually transition to a listener-supported model via the crowdfunding platform Patreon (rewards for individual backers and total funding stretch goals will be used to further incentivize donations). The show will also reach out to major VR/AR companies in the hopes of forming business partnerships (sponsored content, free review copies, etc.). The show will be recorded at a community recording studio to minimize start-up costs, and a number of different softwares will be needed to produce episodes. Starting off, the show’s two hosts will need to handle all of the research and post-production duties themselves, but as the show grows they’ll be able to hire additional staff in order to divide the workload.

The program will market itself as the show that aims to demystify and democratize VR/AR, and will be promoted within online tech and gaming communities. A strong social media presence on Twitter and Facebook will be established, and the show’s hosts will use their personal accounts to promote the show as well. Guests who are interviewed on the show will be asked to share that episode on their own social media channels in order to draw in new listeners. Beyond Our Reality wants the world to know that VR and AR are for everyone!

Program Mission & Opportunity
Beyond Our Reality is a new podcast about everything related to VR and augmented AR experiences, with a focus on fun and mainstream accessibility. VR and AR are two of the hottest and most exciting emerging fields in tech—a 2017 TechCrucnch report estimates that the VR/AR market will be worth $108 billion ($83 billion for AR, $25 billion for VR) by the year 2021. Although there already are some programs about VR and/or AR, most of these shows are geared towards industry insiders and hardcore enthusiasts, and can be overly technical and detailed for more casual listeners. BoR is a program for people who think that VR/AR is cool but may not have a whole lot of technical know-how; for the millions who downloaded Pokémon Go and anyone who has ever wished that the Holodeck from Star Trek would exist in real life.

As the VR/AR market expands, it is also broadening its consumer base: the industry’s growth in these next few year will be driven by cheaper headsets and the rise of mobile AR, so it only makes sense to create a program that appeals to a more mainstream audience. BoR aims to go beyond the minutiae of algorithms and pixels, and will instead be focused on the novel, unexpected, and perhaps even life-changing applications of these new technologies. VR and AR are for everyone!

Program Content
Beyond Our Reality will cover two main topics: virtual reality and augmented reality. These broad topics will be broken up into a number of different segments. Possible segments may include:

  • “Living Room Roundup,” a first-impressions segment about newly released VR games, with a focus on those that are available on consumer-friendly headsets (Sony’s Playstation VR, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear VR, Google’s Daydream, etc.)
  • “App-stravaganza,” a segment about new AR mobile games and apps. This segment’s relevance will increase over time, as  mobile AR is expected to take off very soon—the iPhone X is the first major smartphone to have solid AR capabilities.
  • “The Newsfeed,” a catch-all segment in which the hosts explain and discuss recent news stories related to the VR/AR industry. It is likely that man of these news stories will be about the tech giants that are pushing the industry forward (Facebook, HTC/Valve, Sony, Samsung, Google, Apple, Microsoft) and exciting new VR/AR applications.
  • “Crafting New Worlds,” the show’s featured segment in which the hosts profile and interview an individual developer, artist, business, etc. that is using VR/AR to create a new or innovative experience. Interviewees will be asked to discuss why this new field is exciting and what they think it will be like as it continues to develop.
  • “How’s the Hardware?” an occasional segment in which the hosts provide unofficial reviews of new VR/AR devices (headsets, glasses, AR-enabled phones, etc.). The reviews will focus on what sort of experiences these devices are capable of creating, and won’t get bogged down with too many technical details or hardware specs.
  • “Nostalgia Goggles,” an educational segment that highlights one pre-modern attempt at achieving VR or AR (i.e. 1962’s Sensorama machine, 1992’s Virtual Fixtures overlay, etc.). This segment will progress chronologically and will conclude before it catches up to modern-day devices.
  • “The Electronic Mailbox,” an audience-driven segment in which the hosts read notable audience reviews of the podcast, highlight good discussions from the BoR subreddit, and talk about audience feedback to segments from previous episodes.