Sky Launches VR Content Initiative

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Add Sky to the mix of TV and media companies that are placing big bets on virtual reality.

Sky, which has been splashing cash on OTT startups and is part of a group backing VR camera and production firm Jaunt, has launched a “major new commitment” to VR content spanning areas such as sports, movies, and news.

Running point is Sky VR Studio, a new dedicated in-house VR production unit that will release its first fare in the format on Friday (March 18) – two films shot during Formula 1 testing in Barcelona produced with Formula One Management and Williams Martini Racing.

Those films will be offered via the Facebook 360 Video platform, as well as via the Oculus platform, including the Samsung Gear VR headset, which must be paired with a compatible smartphone, and the Oculus Rift, which costs $599 and will start shipping late this month.

Sky also plans to distribute content via a dedicated Sky VR app.

Sky VR Studio also plans to produce more than 20 individual films, including those focused on “major cultural events in news” to big sporting events. Some VR productions on tap include a program on heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, and Team Sky’s pursuit to retain their Tour de France title.

The Sky VR Studio team is led by executive producer Neil Graham, and include director Richard Nockles, who directed Sky VR Studio’s F1 film.

In addition to the investment in Jaunt, Sky’s VR activities have also included some 360 news coverage and a test around the recent premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.