When the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) launched the Olympic Channel digital platform in August 2016, it had the stated goal of engaging viewers, particularly younger audiences, with year-round content leading up to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games taking place in February 2018.
From the outset of the Olympic Channel, the OBS sought to experiment with various digital formats, including 360 videos. For one of its most visible immersive media initiatives, the OBS tapped Jaunt, a virtual reality company specializing in producing and distributing immersive content, as its innovation partner for a seven-episode, multi-part series.
With Jaunt's film-making technology, distribution assets, and know-how, the OBS used VR/360 video as part of Trending Gold, an original series that gives viewers access and first-hand experience to what it means to be an Olympian.
While this is the first time Olympic Channel has created VR films, it’s not the first time the Olympics has been showcased in VR. For the 2016 Summer Olympics, Olympic Broadcasting Services put 360-degree cameras at certain venues, which the Olympic Channel then uploaded to its own platform.
This year, the Olympic Channel original series Trending Gold will be available worldwide on Jaunt and via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices as well as on www.olympicchannel.com and apps for Android and iOS. OBS has also partnered with NBC to bring VR content to the NBC Sports VR app.
Update: What Were The Results
While all companies have made statements touting the program's success, there have been few analyses performed to look at the data. On YouTube, the 7 videos accumulated more than 95,000 views in the three months after the release of the first video on January 20th.