1VRDistributed content and the emergence of new social platforms have been the biggest changes in the media industry in the past fifteen years, raising the question of how media brands should collaborate with Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover and others. How can a common basis be negotiated that includes publishing freedom, control over the advertising strategy, access to targeting data, paid content and the tracked data?

A wise management level, with clear objectives and intuitive strategies, is prerequisite to be able to integrate the technical, economic and contextual factors successfully, complemented by a high level of credibility towards the younger audience.

Mainly three trends - mobile, platform and personalized publishing- have been distinguishable at this year’s CES, as well as Virtual Reality (VR), encouraging media houses to start experiment with VR.

Most of us most probably immediately think of Facebook, which made headlines purchasing VR device developer Oculus Rift, but not many ponder on the endless possibilities yet that VR can offer us in our day-to-day life. With many tech giants heavily investing in VR and AR technology, the market will soon be flooded with new devices (e.g., Microsoft's Hololens, Facebook's Oculus Rift, Sony's Playstation VR, HTC/Valve's HTC Vive), erasing the lines between physical and digital realities.

I am most curious to see how brands adopt the technology for communication plans, especially since all that’s needed is actually just a smartphone. Not to mention that these devices put content creation in the hands of consumers and brands, enabling them to go beyond basic storytelling to deliver even more powerful content.

Yet, while the potential applications and awareness for VR and AR are quickly growing, the reality is that most businesses are not ready or set-up to quickly adopt the technology. Being prepared means starting with a strong understanding of the technological impact and what infrastructure is needed for a company to be nimble with its investment to test the benefits of VR and AR.

We are already seeing savvy brands leveraging this creative canvas to capture audiences with a true sensory emersion and authentic connection. As the creative bar continues to be raised by brands willing to get hands on and take creative risks, we're going to see a lot more dexterous turnarounds when it comes to tests. Investing in devices like 360 cameras will expedite the opportunities for agencies and brands to play around with the medium to determine what form of VR or 360 video makes sense to use in order to bring their content to consumers.

Now is the time for marketers to connect with device and content providers to understand their launch strategies or to figure out how consumers will adopt both VR and AR.

Working with data and consumer insights makes any VR and/or AR investments valuable to consumers and allows at the same time the brand to go beyond the one-off gimmick, as it is one of those technologies that enables and accelerates the digital transformation.

By Daniela La Marca