LG Uplus is looking to help introduce a swath of new VR content in partnership with Google through the creation of a new fund meant to assist the search giant's investment efforts, according to recent reports from LG 's home region.
The LG-owned mobile service provider made the announcement during this year's CES 2019 event and says that its underlying goal is to invest in VR during the first half of the year. The agreement will also see content that has been invested in pushed to "apps" and to Google's own YouTube. Primarily, it will be showcased on LG Uplus platforms including its YouTube channel with the carrier taking responsibility for both production and planning sides of the equation in addition to the country's commercialization rights.
Google will gain global distribution rights through the content's listing on YouTube.
From carrier to media distributor
Bids to shift from a complete focus on acting as a mobile service provider to providing over-the-top services such as streaming media or content production isn't necessarily unheard of but LG Uplus's approach is somewhat different.
US carriers Verizon and AT&T have engaged in similar tactics but have emphasized buying out or merging with other companies to kick start those efforts. AT&T's recent activity stands out in that regard due to its acquisition of Time Warner last year and Verizon has begun efforts to diversify its services more distinctly while maintaining its corporate identity.
Part of the bid from the latter company also involves a unifying effort to bring its content- and distribution-related brands together under 'Verizon Media Group', including its advertising-specific firm Oath Ad Platforms. Under each circumstance, the carriers are taking advantage of a lull in traditional media platforms as consumers move to cord-cutting platforms to branch out and gain a foothold in the industry's subsequent gaps.
LG Uplus's approach differs only slightly in that South Korea's smallest carrier is starting itself off as an investor in media from groups that already exist and has partnered with Google to help content creators distribute content more broadly. That's something both AT&T and Verizon are doing too but with a more direct focus distributing the media through their own platforms.
LG Uplus will be taking a larger role in projects' production and leaning on Google's platforms more heavily. If the provider only offered its own platforms for distribution, that may not draw in as many content providers because it would only be shown in specific areas — whereas Google offers a global platform that's already established among consumers.
The VR difference
Another big difference between previous partnerships for media creation and distribution is in LG Uplus' bid on VR.
With the promise of improved speed and latency brought by the 5G networking solutions that loom just over the horizon and VR becoming much more mainstream over preceding months, that's likely to make a big difference for the company. LG Uplus won't be competing with either of those carriers and hasn't offered any clues regarding the range of media content itself might encompass.
Regardless, it will be among the first carriers to take an interest in spreading VR-specific media that will undoubtedly play better streamed over 5G. That places the partnership at the intersection of two emergent and related technologies that are both highly anticipated and potentially revolutionary. So the partnership and media investments made could also lead to vastly improved brand recognition and awareness while also making the carrier more competitive in its own respective market.