As the leading video streaming platform in China, Youku Tudou quietly opened its VR video channel recently, making full preparations for VR video distribution and the exploration of the VR industry.
There is no indicator on Youku’s official homepage directing users to their VR site. One has to enter the link vr.youku.com to get in to the VR channel.
Categories on the channel include “hotties”, thrillers, X-sports, panoramic games, UGC, etc., which are apparently the types of videos that people would prefer to view in VR.
Youku has also joined hands with UCCVR, the company that has co-launched the Ultimate Creator Award 2015 for VR/AR with HTC, a VR video filming contest that encourages everyone to participate. The contest goes from March and lasts until May.
VR industry practitioners are all fully aware of a lack of content. A few hardware manufacturers or system developers, such as LingVR, 3Glasses and FiresVR, are starting to explore in VR content by working with small content providers. Youku is trying to stimulate the creativity of its large user base by launching the VR channel and contest. It is a path that’s proven effective for Youku. The website gained popularity in its early stages thanks to its users who made videos that went viral. Youku will provide all participants with a panoramic camera to shoot their works, which should draw more grassroots producers to participate in the contest as high costs won’t be a concern.
But questions still remain. Primarily, without owning a full chain of VR content productions, how can Youku assure the quality of content from syndicates and other VR content providers? Also, how can Youku compete with not only other video streaming sites, but also hardware manufacturers in content distribution?
Mobile devices will be important tools for playing VR content. Youku does not even have a mobile app as popular as its website. It better hurry up to make a better app.