Comcast and Time Warner are investing big bucks in virtual reality live streaming company NextVR, contributing to a $30.5 million round of funding for the startup, according to the Wall St. Journal.
The company recently made a name for itself as the provider of virtual reality streams for several major events, including the Golden State Warriors’ first game of the NBA season, a democratic presidential debate, and a Coldplay concert.
NextVR was founded in 2009 and has 23 patents for virtual reality technology. The company is in the process of developing a streaming service which it hopes will make it a forerunner in the virtual reality streaming market, akin to Netflix in the non-VR world.
Other investors who contributed to the $30.5 million round of series A funding include Dick Clark productions, The Madison Square Garden Company, and RSE Ventures, all of whom own or produce entertainment media events.
The virtual reality landscape is still littered with competitors at this point, with various large media companies investing in a diverse array of content providers. Comcast Ventures, for example, has contributed to other virtual reality startups such as Altspace VR, and Disney recently contributed to a $65 million round of funding for virtual reality company, Jaunt VR. So far, a clear leader in content has yet to emerge.
One thing most of the media industry can agree upon is that virtual reality technology is the future, with big bucks flowing to what industry forecasters consider to be an important technological frontier. With augmented and virtual reality technology improving and becoming cheaper, mainstream audiences are sure to follow.
For sports in particular, the prospect of using virtual reality technology to simulate a court or ring-side seat, or to experience massive international events like the olympic games, world cup, or other major games is very exciting.
It could also mean big money, especially if cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner use a boxing-style subscription model for those events, charging a premium for special simulated seating.