The eco-system for viewing consumer-generated 360 video is fairly well developed, especially considering the low install base of capture devices. Both Facebook and YouTube support 360-degree video uploads and camera makers such as Ricoh and 360fly have created their own smaller video sharing sites to encourage users to upload and share their spherical videos.
But outside of video games, finding professionally produced virtual reality video content remains something of a fragmented experience. Production houses that are in the business of producing virtual reality videos—documentaries, short form stories or brand marketing—use their apps as a kind of clearing house for the videos they’re producing.
In short, there’s no “Netflix of VR” quite yet, though at least one new service is competing for that crown. Inception (www.inceptionvr.com), which launched in October 2016, offers a library of only 20 different free VR videos for all the major viewing platforms. It’s offering videos it produces itself but will also play host to professional VR videos from third parties as it scales.
The Disney-backed Jaunt (www.jauntvr.com) offers VR content through all the major VR devices including Google Daydream, iOS (for Google Cardboard viewing); Android, Gear VR, Oculus and HTC Vive. The service features over 150 videos from concerts to documentaries and episodic shorts like “Escape the Living Dead.” Jaunt produces VR content with its own custom-built camera, which it also rents out to filmmakers and studios. VR content shot using Jaunt’s camera by third parties is also featured on the Jaunt app.
Within (with.in), formerly VRSE, is a clearing house for VR content produced by sister company Here Be Dragons for brands, media companies and more. Like Inception and Jaunt, consumers can access Within’s VR fare on all of the leading VR viewing platforms. And, like Jaunt, Within is focused on sharing content it has created itself.
Established media companies are also producing and hosting 360-degree content. The New York Times, for instance, produces a daily video shot in 360 and has its own companion VR app for newshounds to view through Google Cardboard. The science channel Discovery makes its 360-degree content available through iTunes and Android. RYOT, owned by the Huffington Post, produces 360-degree journalism and posts it to its Google Cardboard-friendly Apple or Android app.