Olympic Channel

Week 220 (30 December - 5 January)

With just over a month to go until the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the Olympic Channel is hoping to bring the experience of being a world class athlete even closer to fans through virtual reality (VR).

The Olympic Channel, a digital-first, multi-platform global media platform from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) , has launched a seven-part series named “Trending Gold”, which documents the preparation and training of athletes in the build up to the Games, through VR and 360-degree footage.

“Trending Gold is an innovative new series that uses technologies such as virtual reality and 360-degree video to bring viewers inside the personal worlds of several winter athletes creating an immersive and engaging experience for our fans,” said Mark Parkman, General Manager of the Olympic Channel.

“Finding new ways to connect the stories behind our sports with our audiences through new series like Trending Gold is a key strategy as we continue to evolve the Olympic Channel global platform.”

The first two episodes document Nigeria’s first ever women’s bobsleigh team, following the athletes as they train in a home-made wooden sleigh, before heading to Calgary for winter training.

Athletes from snowboarding, skiing and speed skating disciplines are also featured, giving the viewer a fully immersive, visual experience of the skill required to perform at the highest level, with more content set to be released in the build up to the Games.  

The IOC is already working alongside Intel, a TOP sponsor that specialises in digital technology, to produce the first Winter Games broadcast in VR. The Olympic Channel also has plans to launch a fitness app using this technology.

Each episode is available to watch now on the Olympic Channel’s digital site, and provides shorter episodes for viewers without the specialised VR headset. Earlier in the year, the Olympic Channel revealed that 77% of its viewership was under the age of 35, and adopting these innovative technologies will reinforce the IOC’s desire to engage with the younger market.

According to Parkman, the Olympic Channel plans to bring viewers “outside the fence” content throughout the duration of the Games. With this latest series, the IOC has shown that it remains at the forefront of the latest broadcasting evolution.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons