The in-house production team will create VR content across sports, news, movies and entertainment.
UK’s largest pay-TV broadcaster, Sky, has been dabbling in VR since its 2013 investment in VR production company Jaunt.
Now the broadcaster is stepping up their commitment to virtual reality content with a dedicated in-house VR team. The broadcaster has launched a production unit they are calling Sky VR studio to produce content initially for Facebook’s 360° video platform, the network’s website, and mobile apps.
Kicking off the launch of Sky VR Studio are two 360° films, shot during Formula 1 testing with Williams Martini Racing. The videos are available on Sky’s sports Facebook page and show testing in Barcelona’s pit lane, team garages and action from the track.
The full VR experiences will also be available on the Oculus platform, and viewable on the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift headsets. Later in the year, Sky will look to distribute content through a dedicated Sky VR app.
Sky said it would be making at least 20 VR films during 2016 – from major cultural events in news to some of the biggest sporting events on the planet. The studio team currently has four VR camera operators and is using staff from across Sky. Early videos will typically run to around five minutes.
Since Sky’s investment in US-based Jaunt in 2013, the broadcaster has been carrying out testing across a range of events from capturing footage from a refugee camp in Calais to a red carpet premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Upcoming Sky VR Studio content we can expect in the coming months span a variety of subject matter, including:
- A unique perspective on heavyweight boxing, taking viewers inside the ring as Anthony Joshua bids for a world title
- Following Team Sky as they set their sights on retaining their Tour de France crown
- Plus further exclusive VR content across a range of news, arts and entertainment programming
Sky’s move into VR content is a big step for a traditional broadcaster and shows a clear trend in media companies pushing forward with the adoption of the new technology medium.
Earlier this month, USA Today announced the creation of their own VR studio where they will be broadcasting regularly scheduled news in VR and PBS has spitting out lengthy VR documentaries through their Frontline series.
Some broadcasters have been taking a different approach from pre-recorded VR content like that of which Sky is committed to at this time.
Last month, Fox Sports and VR live-streaming specialists NextVR announced that they inked a five-year partnership to bring a slew of live virtual reality experiences to sports fans across the country. For college ball fans this past week, they were able to watch broadcasts of the 2016 BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Tournament live in VR from Madison Square Garden.