YouTube's revealed the secret to making an engaging virtual reality video: put the best parts right in front of the audience so they don't have to move their heads [theregister.co.uk].
Google's video vault offers that advice on the basis of heat maps it's created based on analysis of where VR viewers point their heads while wearing VR goggles. There's just such a heat map at the top of this story (or here [regmedia.co.uk] for m.reg readers) and a bigger one here [googleusercontent.com].
The many heat maps YouTube has made lead it to suggest that VR video creators “Focus on what’s in front of you: The defining feature of a 360-degree video is that it allows you to freely look around in any direction, but surprisingly, people spent 75% of their time within the front 90 degrees of a video. So don’t forget to spend significant time on what’s in front of the viewer.”
YouTube also advises that “for many of the most popular VR videos, people viewed more of the full 360-degree space with almost 20% of views actually being behind them.” Which sounds to El Reg like VR viewers are either staring straight ahead, or looking over their shoulders with very little time being devoted to sideways glances.
A video channel wants people to treat VR like video. Hmmm. Perhaps the answer to their question is in the question: people should be considered "participants" instead of an "audience."