Analysis, Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

CES 2015: Samsung Starts to Build an Ecosystem of Content Around the Gear VR

After launching the Gear VR last year in collaboration with Oculus, Samsung (KRX:005935) has announced a content store for the virtual reality headset called Milk VR at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. The offering – a continuation in the oddly-named Milk line of audio and video services offered by the South Korean manufacturer – aims to be the first content delivery service tailored for virtual reality, and will offer video content in a 360-degree viewing format.

Samsung has stated that it will be providing an array of content – streaming as well as downloadable – for the Gear VR (and any VR headsets the brand may launch in the future) with Milk VR, which is available in the Oculus store on the headset.  The content store will be broken down into two categories, with the “fresh” category highlighting the latest additions, and a “trending” section, through which users can browse the most popular videos available. Currently, all videos on the store are free, although there will be plans to monetize content at a later stage.

The South Korean vendor is looking to add content creators to the service, and has said that it is working toward securing deals with Mountain Dew, National Basketball Association, Red Bull and Skybound Entertainment and others. The NBA has stated that it will offer a mix of game action as well as behind the scenes footage through Milk VR, and Skybound Entertainment has revealed that a TV show shot entirely in VR is in the works.

Initially, the amount of content available on Milk VR will be sparse considering that the Gear VR headset itself is still in its nascent stages, but as momentum builds, it is possible that we’ll see a wide variety of content make its way to the service. VR as a medium for entertainment is certainly exciting as it allows content creators to find new ways to engage with their audience, while allowing users to fully immense themselves in the visuals.

Furthermore, launching a service such as Milk VR when the medium is still in its infancy gives Samsung the potential to build an ecosystem of content around the platform. In the initial stages, Samsung will be looking at metrics like user engagement rather than overall sales to gauge the success of its service.

With growth coming to a crawl in the phone segment, Samsung is looking to other mediums to drive growth in the coming years, and initiatives such as Milk VR may just be the catalyst that Samsung needs to secure a foothold in this segment. Much of Samsung’s success with Android was down to timing, and the South Korean manufacturer will be looking to achieve a similar feat in the field of virtual reality.