One of the interesting dimensions of content management is the virtual world. Like the transition from traditional media content and architecture to online platforms, will there need to be a shift in what, and how, content is produced and presented from the “real world” to the virtual worlds of Second Life and others?
The Guardian has an article on how media companies have joined the virtual world of Second Life. Both UK-based broadcasters Sky News and Channel 4 have a presence in Second Life and are looking at developing further inroads into the A$1.2 billion Second Life world.
Sky News plans to give away free virtual television sets to watch 24-hour Sky News broadcasts, while 4 Radio (the radio division of Channel 4) are making themselves available on watches for their Second Life citizens.
For the most part, it seems that the content itself will just replicate the terrestrial world’s broadcasts. I am not convinced that the virtual world consumer in Second Life will respond the same way to the same content being pumped into a virtual world via the same real world channels. Reuters may be closer to the mark with a virtual correspondent reporting on news inside the virtual world. That sounds a more attractive proposition in terms of content for the Second Life space.
What I do like from 4 Radio, however, is the shift in thinking beyond the real world form of delivery channel. Why not use watches in the virtual world as your delivery channel? Here we see the innovative opportunity to transform traditional media into something different. And companies are using virtual worlds to test just that.
Companies are using Second Life as an experimental environment to test collaborative spaces and new ideas, but don’t be surprised to see a massive growth in real world companies commercialising virtual worlds in the future (it is happening now but it will get much, much bigger). Simon Bucks from Sky News said: “We felt that Second Life has the biggest and most potential for growth.”
When the real world starts to run out of consumers, the virtual world might be the next best thing. As a consequence, this means not only a reshaping of our communication platforms, but also the content associated with it.