In time, when virtual headsets become reality, we need more sites like Littlstar. This site is dedicated strictly to 360° panoramic video and Virtual Reality. The team has a mixed bag experience from Spotify, AppNexus, MEC Global, DKNY and Saatchi & Saatchi. One of the founders, Tony Mugavero had earlier built a company and successfully sold it. He was also a part of many successful Startups (Gigbeat, gSchool, Uber and Box).
“We are building Littlstar from the ground up to exclusively support panoramic content, and transport viewers into the moment. Our tagline is “The World Revolves Around You”. YOU are in the moment, a part of the show, connected with the environment, an environment you control. This is an entirely new format, with new ways of storytelling, new analytics, new players, VR integration, new ways to market your products and interact, and a dedicated passionate community behind it. It’s not just an add-on to some other network, and it’s not a pet project spun out of some agency collaboration. This is a dedicated company, from a highly focused and talented team of engineers and producers, in a city with some of the richest stories in the world, New York City.” – says Mugavero.
They have been in the media space for quite some time, and they have great plans for the future. “Some of the early mission behind Littlstar is that we hated advertising, and wanted to find a more authentic connection between brands and fans. We started testing this in early 2014 with social aggregation around events that we did for companies like Belvedere Vodka and DKNY, but with the announcement of Oculus Rift, Gear VR, and companies like DODOcase putting together cardboard VR kits, we knew that we needed to focus exclusively on panoramic content. Panoramic video gives creators the opportunity to truly transport someone into the experience. It gives the story so much more room to be told” – he said.
They built the right team to create a new market. Team that has: extreme determination, pure hustle, the ability to be flexible and move fast when things change. Everyone is incredibly talented, has start-up and big media experience, and listen to and respect each other. On top of all that, everyone is very understanding and transparent. Finding that balance, was putting together years of knowing each other in various capacities, with the right timing and passion.
You get the foundation wrong and the house falls over later. Finding that balance of timing and chemistry is a big hurdle for any startup. “The biggest problem with panoramic video in the past was that it was too expensive for anyone to produce, and clunky or expensive to deliver. We have simplified the experience down to a zero configuration destination where producers can upload panoramic content in various formats, and consumers can view it on the web, mobile web, mobile apps, and VR headsets. Currently there are a number of consumer panoramic cameras about to launch, and they all have the same problem: Nowhere to put the content!” says Mugavero. They already have an API in place and an open source WebGL player.
They are targeting consumers and content creators, and already have accounts on the platform from the world’s top producers like Visualise in the UK who have worked with Mercedes AMG Formula 1, Wimbledon, Ducati, FIFA, BBC and more. Highlighting work from the world’s top producers gets consumers excited about this new format, and helps the producers grow and promote their businesses. This is a global phenomenon and most of the 360 video / VR producers are global anyway.
Quote from Henry Stuart, CEO of Visualise – “We’re really excited to be included in the launch of Littlstar, it’s a fantastic platform that lets VR put its best foot forward. It’s going to be a great enabler for the build of the VR community at large and we can’t wait to see it grow!” – adds Mugavero.
They say that it would be easier for them to put traditional video model on top of this like pay per view, or advertising, but then, getting into a model too soon with this new format may be harmful in the next 6-12 months. They already have connected producers with household name brands to produce panoramic content, and had producers get approached about licensing their content for films.
“We’re gravitating toward (and hearing from the community) that an iTunes type model might be good for premium content. We also love the idea of sponsored content and exclusive access, like a concert or fashion show front row seat sponsored by a brand. NEVER pre-roll ads. We’ll really see what it looks like when the consumer cameras start to drop into the market and creativity goes through the roof” – says Tony Mugavero