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Sky has invested a further $0.9 million in Jaunt, the company pioneering cinematic virtual reality (VR), as part of its latest round of funding. This brings the total investment made by Sky in Jaunt since 2013 to $1.65 million.
Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Jaunt claims to lead the industry through its end-to-end solution for creating and distributing premium live action VR. The content can be played on a wide variety of devices, including common smartphones, as well as VR goggles such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift. The technology delivers a highly immersive experience, enabling viewers to enjoy a truly 360 degree stereoscopic view, where audiences are placed – literally – at the centre of the action.
Since Sky’s initial investment, the two companies have tested the technology on a number of Sky original productions, including Critical, Penny Dreadful, Trollied, Fortitude and Got to Dance, as well as sports including boxing and motor racing. Sky has also worked with Jaunt and Warner Bros to create cinematic VR clips from The Hobbit set and red carpet London premiere in 2014.
Over the next 12 months, Sky will work with Jaunt to film even more original virtual reality content.
The additional funding for Jaunt is part of Sky’s ongoing programme of investing in innovative start-ups that help Sky bring new ideas, insight and services into its business. This follows recent investments in leading online sports network Whistle Sports, Pluto.TV, the online video aggregator and the US ad tech firm Sharethrough. Sky has previously invested in a number of other pioneering US technology companies, including the IP streaming service provider Roku and the OTT video delivery firm, 1 Mainstream.
Stuart Murphy, Director of Entertainment, Sky, described Jaunt as “the pioneers of Cinematic VR”, noting that the market was developing lightning fast, “so it is brilliant for us to be hand in glove with the team right at the cutting edge. It’s been amazing working with them over the last two years as we begin to see the technology take off. We are developing some exciting plans for how we can create some amazing viewing experiences for Sky customers.”
Jens Christensen, CEO and co-founder, Jaunt, said that with the support of world class partners such as Sky, this latest round of funding would allow it to advance the scope of cinematic VR for film-makers, storytellers and audiences alike. “We will build on our leadership position to deliver amazing VR experiences using best-in-class tools, technology and creative teams.”