The Seven Network has partnered with Samsung to deliver 100 hours of live and on demand virtual reality as well as 360-degree video from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, which kick off this Saturday morning Sydney time.
The content will be available for those using selected Samsung Galaxy smartphones compatible with Samsung's VR headset Gear via the ‘7Rio VR 2016 app'. Selected daily highlights on demand will also be available via Seven's Olympics Facebook page being shown in 360-degree video.
This is the second big deal this week Seven has inked surrounding its content, with the network partnering with Google to ensure that whenever anyone searches for Olympics content, Seven is at the top of the pile.
The events that punters can watch using VR include the opening and closing ceremonies, men’s basketball, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing and fencing as well as highlight packages of those sports.
Chief revenue officer for Seven West Media, Kurt Burnette, says: “These Olympic Games will be accessible to every Australian and promise to be the largest aggregated audience ever seen across platforms and screens. The Games content delivered and curated by Seven will be seen, heard, shared and discussed in many new ways with Seven as the driver.
“We are delighted to be working with Samsung to add another new dimension of content immersion to our coverage of the Olympic Games.”
There have been many sceptics of VR, those doubting if the technology can move beyond a gimmick, with this partnership appearing to be the first large-scale live content execution.
Chief digital officer at Seven West Media, Clive Dickens, says: “At Seven, we deliver engagement and value from powerful storytelling and during August, some of the world’s most powerful stories will emerge during the Olympic Games.
“Our virtual reality and 360° partnership with Samsung will be experienced by 100,000s of connected Australians, many of whom will have the opportunity to experience live virtual reality sports events for the very first time.”
This week Seven West Media saw its profits slip slightly as it warned of a short ad market which will see earnings impacted by 15-20% in the coming year. It warned investors that softer market conditions and increased content cost from the Olympics and AFL means its underlying Group EBIT will be down 15-20% in the coming year.
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