Each week, we review the press, highlighting and responding to interesting and relevant articles in the news.

Source: Oculus

Can Ads make VR more realistic?

Digital advertising is about to enter a whole new (virtual) world, as Facebook has announced it will begin to test VR advertising on its Oculus headsets. With the revenue boost from digital advertising in VR, Facebook hopes that this will help pave the way to mainstream consumer VR. The announcement contained a section on privacy that was as long as the press release itself, foreshadowing concerns about targeted VR ads. If successful, this trial may open up entirely new ad formats that are unique to VR, altering our perceptions and interactions with digital advertising. Since this post was published, however, the developer that had publicly agreed to test the VR advertising has pulled out due to player feedback before testing even began.

East Meets West, Present Meets Past

Tesla is paying homage to the historic trade route of the Silk Road, announcing a 5000km Supercharger route in China from east to west. China is Tesla’s second-largest market (after the US), but sales have dramatically dropped this spring (April and May both saw serious downturns). Tesla’s Supercharger route builds off Xi Jinping’s initiative called both “The New Silk Road” and the “Belt and Road Initiative” that seeks to modernize China’s transportation infrastructure. Xi has employed historic continuity before to legitimise his ambitious plans for China. Now, Tesla is co-opting this heritage to position itself as a conduit of trade and knowledge exchange, while promoting electric vehicle use.

Source: Pexels

Wait, what podcast?

While tech giants like Facebook and Google try to break into podcasting, there’s a startup called WaitWhat that's trying to figure out what comes after podcasts. The media invention company, WaitWhat, closed a fundraising round at $12M this week, led by Raga Partners, Laurene Powell Jobs, and others. WaitWhat has a unique approach to create content that can scale horizontally by not defining media by its format.WaitWhat's mission stands in clear contrast to the tech giants trying to play catch up with podcasts, replicating other platforms with little innovation. Altio sees potential in the disruptors who seek to look beyond short-term algorithms and proven models, pushing the boundaries of media to continually innovate.