new Report offers guidance for
immersive experience creators



 (Above: Mapping experiences of immersive audiences.  Image: Immersive Audience Journey report)


Creators and commissioners of immersive experiences can take advantage of learnings and a framework tool in the Immersive Audience Journey Report, published as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) 'Audience of the Future' programme.

The report provides insights into the audiences for immersive experiences, looking at their journeys through immersive content in different contexts such as live events, arts performances, and museums. It also looks at questions such as the levels of technology acceptance and willingness to pay among different audiences for immersive experiences.

The UK is the largest immersive market in Europe with a rapidly developing ecosystem of creators and commissioners, according to the Digital Catapult and Immerse UK 2019 Immersive Economy report.

By improving understanding of the current and potential audiences for immersive content, the Immersive Audience Journey Report aims to support further market growth among immersive providers and clients. It provides ‘Journey Map’ templates intended to help immersive producers when designing their audience journeys, from a production and experience design perspective.  

Wallace & Gromit large

(Above: Future mixed reality content will feature Wallace & Gromit
Image: ©Aardman Animations/W&G Ltd & © Fictioneers Ltd. 2000) 

Although the research was conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic, it is hoped that many of its insights will help stimulate creative thinking and innovation as immersive companies try to adapt their approach to reflect restrictions and behaviour in the pandemic environment.

Examples of immersive experience content include

  • Dinosaurs and Robots - a mixed reality project produced by Factory 42 with the Almeida Theatre and supported by the Science Museum Group and the Natural History Museum, as well as Sky. The project was originally intended to be a location-based adventure game experience. It will now initially launch as augmented reality for families at home, encouraging them to explore, build and play games that combine STEM skills and creativity using mobile technology.
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up epic adventure due later in 2020, will combine augmented and mixed reality. Users will be invited to experience and interact with the story as it unfolds over time.

Professor Andrew Chitty, UKRI Challenge Director for the Audience of the Future and Creative Industries Clusters Challenge, said: By sharing the insights from this report, we aim to raise awareness of best practices within the immersive community to help creators and production studios as they pivot their models.

"Immersive technology continues to shift audience behaviour from ‘viewing’ content to ‘experiencing’ and ‘recommending’ it, ranging from exciting esports experiences live-streamed in virtual reality (VR) to educational augmented reality (AR) applications designed for the whole family to enjoy. The higher levels of technology acceptance and utilisation prompted by lockdown may also shine a light on immersive experiences that provide truly memorable moments with longer-term impact.”

Aki Jarvinen, Senior Experience Researcher, Ph.D, Digital Catapult, the report’s author, said: "Framing immersive experiences under the banner of ‘storytelling’ in the age of ‘peak TV’ and omnipresent story content is not necessarily a working strategy. Emphasising the experiences aspect seems to differentiate immersive. Immersive producers need to think how to blend production activities into marketing, and adopt holistic thinking around audience engagement. Community building and pre event launch activities can significantly increase awareness and facilitating post event activities contribute to loyalty”.

Dr Jeremy Silver, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Catapult, said: Understanding how audiences interact and navigate inside immersive worlds remains one of the fundamental challenges to development of new XR formats. This report helps developers and creators think about what is going on in different kinds of virtual environments, how to intrigue audiences, attract, retain and importantly, how to grow them."

View the report and other related materials from The Immersive Audience Journey page and or watch a summary of the insights below.