N e w s


November 21st   2019

Porter Novelli, Sustainable Business Council and Perceptive research brand sustainability

On 21 November 2019, Porter Novelli teamed up with Perceptive and Sustainable Business Council to launch the In Good Company Research. This research assessed the sustainability of brands - looking at what businesses are doing to become more sustainable, how New Zealand consumers are influenced by sustainable business and how businesses can better communicate their sustainability offering. 

To find out more, get in touch with with our Executive Director of Sustainability - James Walker - at jamesw@porternovelli.kiwi 


The influence of sustainability on New Zealand consumers

New research reveals why brands need to talk sustainability

  • Across all eight industries, at least 47 percent of New Zealanders say they care about sustainability when choosing a brand/product to purchase.
  • One in five say choosing a brand that either operates in a sustainable manner or helps them live a lower-impact life are the most important factors in their purchase decision.
  • Sustainability is ranked the third equal most important factor when making a purchase choice after quality and price.

New Zealanders believe electricity retailers and supermarkets are doing the most to be more sustainable, however, they want brands in all industries to be more open and upfront about sustainability, and actively communicate it.

The findings of the In Good Company report released today demonstrate that sustainability is not just something they care about when making a purchase, but it is contributing to how they choose what to buy.  

Commissioned by the Sustainable Business Council, Porter Novelli and Perceptive, the findings reveal how New Zealanders assess the sustainability of brands and showcases where there are significant opportunities for business leadership.

More than 2,000 New Zealanders took part in the study which looked at eight industry sectors including; automobile, broadband and mobile, fashion/apparel, financial institutions, electricity, fuel and large retailers, as well as supermarkets.

With sustainability a concern for 87 percent of New Zealanders, and 18 percent of those surveyed unable to identify a leader in the area, Abbie Reynolds, Executive Director of Sustainable Business Council, says businesses need to step up to the challenge.

“New Zealand businesses are increasingly embedding sustainability into their strategies and business practice; however, many businesses are reluctant to talk about what they’re actually doing.

“In many cases, it’s a matter of ‘green hush’, rather than greenwash. This research shows there is an important opportunity for business in New Zealand to show leadership,” says Reynolds.

Depending on the sector, between 47 percent (financial institutions) and 68 percent (large retailers), say they care about the sustainability of brand products when purchasing from that sector.

Between 34 percent (broadband/mobile retailer) and 51 percent (large retailer) say their purchase decisions are influenced by how sustainable a brand or product is across industries.

James Walker, Executive Director for Sustainability at Porter Novelli says, “Customers are increasingly becoming more likely to research the sustainability practices of brands, and they are demanding more information. Our research shows that 71 percent of New Zealanders are actively researching this before making a product purchase and that’s a sign that businesses need to step up.

“Respondents said that they want brands to be more honest and transparent, as well as promoting the sustainability activity that is being undertaken. If customers don’t know what businesses are doing to become more sustainable, how can they choose them for it?” Walker continues. 

Despite the results from the research providing insight into what business sustainability leadership looks like to New Zealanders, those involved in the research say it’s important to recognise that perception does not always equal reality. Brands should consider both what they’re actually doing to operate more sustainably and how this is being perceived by customers.

Oliver Allen, General Manager at Perceptive, explains, “What’s interesting about these findings, is that sustainability is not just something New Zealanders care about, it’s also increasingly impacting their purchase decisions.

“Choosing a brand that operates in a sustainable manner falls just behind quality and price but ranks higher than customer service and recommendations from friends and family. This is something which brands should be taking note of across the board.”

To view the full report, please visit: https://www.sbc.org.nz/resources/reports/sbc-reports/in-good-company


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October 25th   2017

New Executive Director joins Porter Novelli New Zealand leadership team

Jane Luscombe has joined Porter Novelli NZ as one of two Executive Directors, replacing the role previously held by Sarah Williams who was promoted to Managing Director in July.   

Starting at Porter Novelli today, Jane comes from the Commission for Financial Capability where she was the External Relations Manager and part of the Senior Leadership Team. Her achievements with the Commission include winning the 2017 IPANZ excellence award for public sector engagement.

Previously Jane has worked as a senior reporter and producer for eight years at Mediaworks (3 News and Newshub), and has an extensive background in journalism, including producer, presenter and reporter roles at the BBC.

Jane’s appointment completes the leadership team, joining Managing Director Sarah Williams and Executive Director Louise Wright-Bush. John Frey continues as the non-executive chairman of Porter Novelli NZ.  The changes follow Strahan Wallis’ inter-company move to a new role as Managing Director, Porter Novelli Southern California in June.

Sarah Williams says Jane’s appointment rounds out the leadership team and will help drive results for the agency, clients and team.   Jane will work with clients on their media, stakeholder and content strategies drawing on her broad experience and networks.

“Her skills and experience complement our existing team and culturally she is a great fit. Jane’s media, political and financial background means she brings a strong network and specialist knowledge to Porter Novelli. She is a highly impressive communicator and we are thrilled she’s joining us.

“Jane has enjoyed afternoon tea at 10 Downing Street with the Blairs, she produced extended coverage of Obama’s election and counts her work on the Victorian bush fires and the 2011 Canterbury earthquake as career highlights.”

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May 18th   2017

Management changes at Porter Novelli New Zealand

The Clemenger Group today announced senior management changes at the group’s market leading public relations agency, Porter Novelli New Zealand. Managing Director, Strahan Wallis, will transfer inter-company as Managing Director, Porter Novelli Southern California.  Executive Director, Sarah Williams (an eight-year veteran of Porter Novelli NZ) has been appointed Managing Director taking over from Strahan on July 1st.

Porter Novelli NZ has transformed itself under Strahan’s stewardship, winning national and international awards, delivering sustainable year-on-year growth, and attracting enviable new clients and people. The Porter Novelli NZ culture is a core strength of the agency as evidenced by the ease of succession from Strahan to Sarah and the virtually non-existent staff turnover the past three years.

Jim Moser, CEO of the Clemenger Group says, “Strahan joined us seven years ago at Porter Novelli  NZ.  In that time, he has developed from a Senior Account Director to General Manager and then Managing Director.  Since taking over as Managing Director three years ago, Strahan has built an incredible team that consistently delivers quality work for their clients. This focus on excellence and retaining top consultants has led to strong growth and multiple awards. We wish him well in this next evolution of his career and look forward to his return home - he’ll always be welcome at the Clemenger Group,” says Moser.

Executive Director, Sarah Williams joined the agency eight years ago and has been in the industry for more than twenty years including leadership roles at Vodafone NZ and Vector. Williams says, “Working alongside Strahan has been a career highlight. While the team is sad to see him go, we’re also thrilled for him.  Porter Novelli NZ is in great shape and I am incredibly excited about leading the team to the next stage. We have an enviable client list, an extraordinary team and a market leading practice.  I look forward to the challenges ahead and helping our clients be successful.”

Executive Director Louise Wright-Bush continues in her important role as part of the leadership team and John Frey will continue as non-executive chairman of Porter Novelli NZ.  Over the coming months, the agency will replace Sarah’s existing role as Executive Director.

“This is the best place I have ever worked and I’m incredibly honoured to have worked with such a talented team” says Wallis, “Together we have been able to deliver campaigns I’m incredibly proud of and work with clients that are pushing boundaries in their sectors. I’m stoked to continue working for Porter Novelli, recently named as the best large agency to work for in North America by the Holmes Report 2017. I want to thank our Kiwi team for their enduring support, loyalty and best-practice work. It is a testament to them that I can step into this exciting new role.  Sarah Williams is one of the industry leaders who I admire and respect the most and I know she will take our agency from strength to strength.”

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January 26th   2017

Celebrating 10 years of Communicators

Adrianne Cranshaw, GM, Communicators reflects on 10 years in recruitment.

Ten years ago I returned from five months overseas with the idea I would work part-time and enjoy a balanced life. Offered the opportunity to set up a boutique candidate search agency that focused on communication and public relations roles I started with a 20-hour week but that did not last long. Ten years later after meeting with 2000 potential candidates, placing people in more than 200 roles and working with 180 clients, from Corporates to NFPs to PR agencies, the role still requires a 24/7 approach. But these days working remotely and holidaying while working brings work-life balance.

I have some great memories. Most are around the interesting people, both clients and candidates, who I have met. Some of them I now count among my friends. Inspirational stories of resilience and courage made me even more determined to help someone secure their dream job.

There have been major changes in the recruitment industry since Communicators launched on January 26, 2007. I have been very fortunate to have the strong backing and support of Porter Novelli and the Clemenger Group throughout both the challenging and good times.

Keeping Communicators going after the GFC, when businesses had a natural attrition policy, was a challenge. It seemed there was little recruitment for two years. But within the second phase of that period there were openings for contractors, as businesses recognised they needed to rebuild their communication resources, so some candidates became Communicators contractors and were sent out on short term assignments. Human Resource teams started looking after more of the recruitment needs of their organisations, but at the end of a process of advertising on websites and online job boards, Communicators was, and often still is, approached to find that elusive right-fit.

The future of recruitment, in the specialised communications and PR sector, appears to be sound. There is still a need for an in-depth understanding by the recruiter of the diverse and changing communications needs of businesses. An example of this is the increasing importance of internal communications and in particular change communications which are now recognised as pivotal to the success of organisations. Flexitime and businesses being willing to adapt to job sharing, people working from home or having a four-day week, even at the most senior levels, are very positive developments that are a win-win for both candidates and clients.

My key recruitment tip for people starting afresh in 2017?

Hone your CV so that it stands out, not in a dramatic way, but with a clear profile statement that covers your past experience and encapsulates what you are looking for in two or three sentences.

Adrianne Cranshaw


021 759 919


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January 11th   2017

My time as a Porter Novelli intern

Emma Hilton was the recipient of the Joseph Peart Porter Novelli scholarship for 2016. To finish off her six-week internship with us she reflected on her time at Porter Novelli and offered some key learnings to other graduates starting out in the workforce.

With graduation fast approaching, I found myself at the end of my third year Public Relations major at The Auckland University of Technology, petrified about what I would do next. After studying for most of my life, it was all I knew and what I did best. I had a long list of places I dreamt of doing PR for, but no idea where to start. 

Then I learnt about Porter Novelli and the Joseph Peart Porter Novelli Scholarship they offer for graduates, through a university assignment. I was immediately impressed by their unmatched portfolio of clients, which includes some of the top organisations in New Zealand. Shortly after I met Tessa Williams, the 2015 winner of the scholarship, at a PRINZ event. From this meeting, I was lucky enough to be shoulder-tapped to apply and I jumped at the opportunity. With a combination of hard work and determination throughout the rigorous application process, I was privileged to be the 2016 recipient of the Joseph Peart Porter Novelli scholarship.

One component of the scholarship was a six-week paid internship with Porter Novelli. So just a week after my final exam I started with guns blazing at Porter Novelli. As a wide-eyed graduate, I was both incredibly excited and a little intimidated to be working with some of the best PR practitioners in New Zealand. But with a warm welcome and a little encouragement from the lovely team, I quickly found my stride. Over the next six weeks, I kept my head down, worked hard, and helped out with some incredible projects for BNZ, Fairfax, Countdown, Microsoft and many other impressive organisations.

Now that I have come to the conclusion of my internship I have found that: time flew by, I learnt a lot and changed a great deal to adapt to the fast-paced, commercial PR agency environment. Although this experience wasn’t always easy and glamorous it has prepared me for the next chapter of my professional development. Upon reflection there are many lessons that I could pass on to the next Porter Novelli intern, but here are five:

  1. You need to work hard to earn your stripes. As a graduate, I felt like I knew it all from my years of study but in the real world, I still had a lot to learn.
  2. Be prepared to swallow your pride and seize every opportunity that comes your way. When you are starting out in the job any experience is good experience.
  3. Pay attention to the details in everything. This includes proof-reading every document one extra time, dressing professionally, always being punctual, managing your time wisely and going the extra mile in everything you do.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. It is better to ask an extra question than to not know what you are doing. Remember that the Porter Novellians are always happy to help and aren’t as scary as they seem.
  5. Most importantly, make the most of your time at Porter Novelli. It will all be over before you know it.  

Now that I have reached the end of my internship I still have a long list of organisations I would love to work for. I still have a lot to learn and experience, both in my personal and professional life. I now understand that: everything happens for a reason, I will end up wherever I am supposed to, and I am capable of achieving more than I think. As I begin the next chapter of my career, I know that I am ready and that Porter Novelli has my back.

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August 30th   2016

PN People share their #firstsevenjobs

Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen senior leaders across the globe share their first seven jobs on social media – and it got us thinking about how your first job helps shape the person you are today. There is something inspiring about hearing how average folk, with humble beginnings, worked hard and came out on top. It reminds us that there is no such thing as overnight success or a linear path.

So to gain a little insight into Porter Novelli people – John Frey, Strahan Wallis, Sarah Williams, and Louise Wright – we asked them about their first seven jobs and this is what they said:

John Frey, Non-Executive Chairman:

1. Office job at Real Estate Institute of Queensland

2. Waiting, bar work

3. Cleaning

4. President of the student union

5. Teacher (for all of six weeks)

6. Special Projects Officer for a leading medical charity

7. Junior Consultant for GRACosway.

Strahan Wallis, Managing Director:

1. Grubbing thistles, pulling ragwort, spraying gorse (on the farm)

2. Milking cows

3. Stocking supermarket shelves

4. Roast dinner / breakfast cook at the mall

5. Writing user manuals for a road maintenance software developer

6. Door to door market researcher

7. BNZ Internal communications.

Sarah Williams, Executive Director:

1. Four Square check out girl

2. Cleaning houses

3. Waitress

4. Painter and decorator (no prior experience)

5. “Head of” a sandwich café

6. Old lady minder (no prior experience)

7. Live in nanny (no prior experience).

Louise Wright, Executive Director:

1. Collecting Auckland Star subscriptions from the local neighbourhood (on my brother’s bike)

2. Working at a sunglass importers removing “Made in Taiwan” stickers, and replacing with “Inspired in NZ”

3. Cardboard stripper (gluing cardboard boxes together at the Whitcomb and Tombs factory)

4. Pizza maker

5. Waitress

6. Assistant greenkeeper at a golf course

7. Health Food Shop assistant.

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May 26th   2016

Budget 2016 – Steady as she goes

Some may say dull as ditch water, but that would be unfair. The Budget delivers a steady as she goes approach in the lead up to the 2017 election and health is a major focus. Including bold incremental tax increases for cigarettes that will see the average packet cost $30 by 2020.

If carbon emissions are a byproduct of your business then the announcement to phase out Emissions Trading Scheme subsidies is going to bite.

Nonetheless, New Zealanders are definitely winning overall and with the focus on core services the benefits are well spread:

·The Crown’s books show rising surpluses and falling debt
·Big dollops of cash for tourism infrastructure, social housing, social investment initiatives, many already announced, education and health, roading projects, KiwiRail, funding to free up more land for housing in Auckland
·Establishment of a Fresh Water improvement fund to remediate rivers
·Money to tackle TB in livestock
·National Policy Statement on Urban Development to be released
·Two-year trial to streamline border processing for low-risk travellers to make it easier for them to visit New Zealand.

There will be some excitement around the Innovative NZ package: The $761 million Innovative New Zealand package is designed to encourage entrepreneurship, skills and economic growth. The package has three parts:

1. Investment in science and innovation will increase by $411 million over the next four years. A number of different science and research funding streams have been boosted, including those that have a strong potential impact on New Zealand’s economy, environment and society. The Marsden Fund – which supports excellence in research – will be expanded, as will funding for the Health Research Council.

2. Support skills and employment – investing $257 million in more tertiary education and apprenticeship programmes, particularly in the areas of science, engineering and agriculture. Tuition subsidies will be increased in a number of subject areas and the Government will fund 5,500 more apprentices by 2020. Funding will be provided to help second-chance learners gain basic skills and to strengthen workplace literacy and numeracy programmes.

3. Support regional economic development – introducing a series of initiatives worth $94 million that will unlock business opportunities and benefit regional communities.

Health – the big winner
Over the next four years, $2.2 billion of additional funding will be provided for new health initiatives and to meet demand.

Pharmac will receive an additional $124 million over four years to provide more New Zealanders with access to new medicines, including new treatments in a range of areas, including for melanoma and hepatitis C.

The Budget also provides $39 million for a national bowel screening programme which, when fully implemented, is expected to screen over 700,000 people every two years.

A further $96 million over four years will increase the number of elective operations.

Budget 2016 provides $169 million more for disability support services and a further $73 million for primary healthcare. This includes extra support for the free doctors’ visits and prescriptions for under 13s that we announced in Budget 2014.

District Health Boards will receive $1.6 billion over four years to invest in services, meet population growth and deliver better results.

Tax measures and delivering a modern, flexible tax system
Further support for businesses – particularly small enterprises – comes through a $187 million SME-friendly tax package, which the Prime Minister announced last month.

Further changes targeted at multi-national companies – New Zealand recently signed an international agreement that will make it harder for multi-nationals to artificially lower their tax liabilities.

Government will soon introduce legislation to increase the amount of tax compliance information shared between treaty partners.

Have commissioned an independent review of the disclosure requirements for foreign trusts, which is due by 30 June.

The environment and who pays
The Government will phase out a subsidy in the Emissions Trading Scheme that was introduced as a temporary measure during the global financial crisis and has allowed some businesses to pay one emissions unit for every two tonnes of pollution they emit.

Government says it’s time businesses move towards paying the market price for their emissions and says removing the subsidy will positively impact the operating balance by $356 million over the next four years, based on a New Zealand Unit price of $12.

The Budget also establishes a $100 million fund to help clean up New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and aquifers over the next decade. The Freshwater Improvement Fund will contribute to projects that help communities improve water quality. Priority will be given to projects involving the private sector or philanthropic funds.

Political commentator Vernon Small commented it should be called the Forrest Gump Budget. It's like a box of chocolates - with a range of sweet choices but no nasty surprises. We agree.

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May 20th   2016

Influencer engagement = Word-of-mouth on scale

Influencer engagement = Word-of-mouth on scale

Tessa Williams, Account Executive

This is part of a series of articles Tessa wrote after attending the 2016 PRINZ annual conference.

As the media landscape in New Zealand has contracted and online platforms have become mainstream, the definition and importance of influencers has changed dramatically.

Media organisations are running on limited resources, with less journalists available to cover the stories we pitch them. This has forced us to reassess how we get our story across to our target audience. It also presents an opportunity for organisations to share their stories in a different way.

Traditionally media organisations held all the power when it came to distributing news, but now bloggers, influencers, journalists, individual brands and consumers all have the ability to start a conversation and distribute stories. Traditional PR thinks of journalists as the only influencers who matter. But PR needs to define influencers much more broadly.

Influencer engagement has evolved to become word-of-mouth on scale. It is getting harder to capture audience attention through traditional media alone. So integrating social influencers into PR campaigns gives companies the opportunity to reach those who do not engage with traditional media channels.

When developing PR campaigns, we identify influencers that align with our client’s brand values and who have audiences we know will enjoy relevant content. We also consider whether the individual has a strong social following, high engagement levels on the content they share, and a good personal profile beyond their social media accounts.

The next part is to develop content that’s relevant to them and that they are interested in either re-posting or developing into something of their own.

Supplying influencers with targeted information that aligns with their interests and values, inviting them to exclusive events, and sending them new and exciting products, are all ways we can help influencers create compelling, unique content. 

A recent article published by Google Webmasters explains, “The most successful blogs offer their visitors a compelling reason to come back,” and while it is the influencers responsibility to share authentic and unique stories, the onus is on PR practitioners to provide content for social influencers that their audience will enjoy.

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May 13th   2016

Porter Novelli celebrates success at annual PRINZ awards

Porter Novelli had a very successful result at the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) awards in May.  In front of a 250 strong crowd, Porter Novelli was by far the most mentioned and recognised agency of the night.

The PRINZ awards cover 10 categories of which Porter Novelli were highly commended in two and won in another.

WINNER Limited Budget: SPCA Cupcake Day 2015 – Sarah Williams, Morgan Bailey and Kaya Arai, Porter Novelli New Zealand.

HIGHLY COMMENDED Marketing Communications: Countdown Free Fruit for Kids – Sarah Williams, Louise Wright, Morgan Bailey and Kaya Arai, Porter Novelli New Zealand; James Walker and Charlotte Haycock, Countdown.

HIGHLY COMMENDED Issues, Crisis or Emergency Management: Microsoft phone scammer response – Sarah Williams, Natasha Gillooly and Brad Pogson, Porter Novelli New Zealand; Brendan Boughen, Microsoft.

Click here to find out more – www.prinz.org.nz/awards

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December 11th   2015

Why banks shouldn't fear social media

Social media and technology are the highest perceived risk factors for New Zealand banks, according to a PwC report.

Our very own Strahan Wallis discusses with the National Business Review why banks should not fear social media, but rather it is all about  you use it.

Click here to listen to the interview and to find out more http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/why-banks-shouldnt-fe...

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November 20th   2015

Digital predictions 2016

Great 2016 digital predictions from Chris Barger: The Rise To Dominance of Social Commerce, A Market Correction In The Cost Of Facebook Advertising, Ad-blocking adoption will flatten, Taylor Swift will continue to show celebrities how to execute social media really well!

Chris Barger's LinkedIn article discusses his predicitions for the coming year. This is because prediction posts are one of the safest ways to ensure that by the end of the following year, you’ll look like a fool -- and that there will be people reminding you in December of what you said at the previous year’s end and telling you how wrong you were.

It’s even harder when you’re writing about digital and social media. The landscape changes rapidly and frequently by its very nature, so trying to stay ahead of the curve well enough to accurately predict what’s going to happen in this industry is like trying to hold a wet bar of soap in the shower.

That said, if you’re paying close enough attention, there are some things that stand out as more likely than others in 2016. Here are my predictions about what you should look for.


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October 20th   2015

Journalists using social media to support local news coverage

Today's journalists are as pushed for time and stories as ever. In general there are fewer of them doing more stories. Speed accuracy and good sources become valuable commodities in this environment and social media is one of them.

This article in the Columbia Journalism Review is a strong reminder that traditional media absolutely use social media to look for story ideas and sources. And quite cleverly. 

But why wouldn't they. Journalists want a story, facts and cooperation and social channels provide all three. Add speed to that and you have a potent combination.

Based on our interactions and conversations we reckon as many as 70-80 percent of Kiwi journalists use social media as a source, probably more.

Brands should be targeting journalists in social campaigns - no spam though please (which is sadly often the case) . Brands should also look out for opportunities to become part of local stories when appropriate; pay attention to local trends and look for chances to engage, especially if you’re doing offline events. Most of all, be aware that social channels need taking into consideration whether it's a brand marketing campaign or issues management.

Finally,  social media is not a strategy or a tactic, it is a channel! At Porter Novelli we consider social and digital channels with every piece of work.

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April 15th   2015

Storytelling in the (Virtual) Real World

With a consumer version of the Oculus Rift rumored to be available this year, it is hard to dispute we have reached a new frontier of story telling. Companies are jumping in, trying to find ways to integrate and capitalize on the new technology. As we saw with wearables, a large focus has been with fitness and gaming.

A huge challenge with VR comes when trying to understand and create the best content that plays well with the new technology. Many existing games and programs do not translate well since the VR self doesn’t move with you, unless hooked into additional products or technology. This creates a disconnect with program as you want to be immersed and consumed within the experience. Another challenge is presented within the content itself. The technology encourages interactivity, so with a passive experience such as movies or film, how do they adapt? The best solution thus far has been to mirror theatre – utilizing stage dynamics to create a more frameless experience. 

This does not solve for wanting to interact with a linear story, so how that adapts film and storytelling will be something to watch. Overall, it will be interesting to see how storytelling develops within the next year to accommodate the new technology and play with the question, how interactive should VR be?

Originally published by Jacqueline Thompson

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