Dick Clark Chairman Announces Multi-Million Dollar Investment In Virtual Reality Company NextVR

Courtesy of NextVR
Coldplay performing during their "A Head Full of Dreams" tour for NextVR.

Peter Guber, chairman of dick clark productions and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, has made a multi-million dollar investment in Laguna Beach, Calif.-based virtual reality company NextVR.

Guber, who owns the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Football Club, has also joined NextVR’s advisory board alongside Scott Teissler (former chief digital strategy officer for Turner Broadcasting) and Doug Perlman (founder-CEO of Sports Media Advisors.)

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Guber’s investment follows NextVR’s initial funding of $5 million, announced last fall, from private investors in China, Hong Kong and the U.S. The company has teamed in recent months with major sports leagues (The NBA, NHL, NASCAR) and bands (Coldplay’sGhost Stories Live” virtual concert) and VR distributors like Oculus and Samsung Gear.

“As we prepare for NextVR to play a leading role in live-action virtual reality, the advisory board will support our mission to bring world class entertainment and sports media properties into this new medium,” Brad Allen, NextVR’s executive chairman, said in a statement.

Guber, who will soon head to Las Vegas for this weekend’s 2015 Billboard Music Awards, has already tested NextVR technology at games for the Golden State Warriors and L.A. Dodgers, and is already exploring the potential for live music. “At live music events like the Billboard Awards, somewhere between 5 to 8,000 people can only be at the venue, but if people from California to Tallahassee, Florida can have that experience in real-time live, that’s an exciting proposition.”

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Though the economic model for NextVR’s content delivery remains “up in the air,” Guber points to over-the-top video services for possible options. “Is it gonna be a licensed model, a pay-per-view model, a subscription model, something that augments broadcast? There’s a whole host of issues and factors, but it’s so compelling that I think those problems will turn into opportunities.”

NextVR isn’t the only recent entrant into the virtual-reality entertainment and music space. Palo Alto-based Jaunt filmed Paul McCartney’s August 2014 concert in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park using its VR technology, and announced a $27.8 million Series B round of funding that same month from investors like Google Ventures and BSkyB. Individual artists are getting into the game, too -- among them The Who, Taylor Swift and Jose Gonzalez.

And there's potential for a wide audience. Fox Home Entertainment chief Mike Dunn recently projected that virtual-reality technology could reach 25 million households by 2017, with consumer costs going down -- Samsungs Gear VR for its Galaxy devices is priced at $199.99 for two years, while Facebook's Oculus Rift headset is expected to arrive in 2016 at a $250 pricetag.