Good Morning America had viewers swimming with the sharks in the Bahamas this morning along with Meteorologist Ginger Zee in a first-ever live 360 VR shark dive broadcast. At one point, the broadcast had well over 1/2 a million viewers participating live through GMA’s Facebook page.
This is not the first time GMA has broadcasted live in 360° video. Back on February 23, 2016, GMA anchor, Amy Robach did a live 360° broadcast from the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, bringing viewers on a spectacular safari during The Great Migration. Back then it was the first time a network news show was broadcasting live in 360°.
Today the GMA team turned to Ginger Zee, PADI master scuba diver, and shark expert Liz Parkinson to bring us into an ocean area known as the “Ray of Hope” shipwreck off of the Bahamas. Viewers were put face to face with Caribbean reef sharks in the 360° video, giving viewers the ability to control what they saw during the shark segment.
WATCH: UNREAL! @Ginger_Zee, swimming with sharks.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 22, 2017
The focus of GMA’s live 360° broadcast was to educate viewers on the important role sharks play in the ecosystem of the ocean, how we need to protect them, and what is being done to keep them safe. Using virtual reality was a way to bring the viewers into the story on a more personal level, to engage them and make them part of what Ginger Zee was experiencing.
How GMA, ABC and other news sites will use 360VR live broadcast in the future is unknown, but I personally see this as an effective way to bring a new level of participation in educational segments as well as news segments. Obviously with over a 1/2 million viewers participating in todays live broadcast, it shows that people are very interested in using VR as part of their news consumption routine.
The Bahamas was declared a shark sanctuary in 2011, prohibiting commercial fishing from catching sharks in its territorial waters. Caribbean reef sharks are the most common type of shark seen in the country. They primarily inhabit shallow reef sites and range in size from 3 feet to upward of 9 feet and are considered the third most aggressive shark that scuba divers encounter.