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Show & Tell Series: Licensing Immersive Content

Feb 23, 2022

21 January 2022: Digital Catapult Show & Tell #6

As part of a series hosted by Digital Catapult, this Show & Tell event focused on licensing immersive content with speakers including Alex Winterbotham (experienced freelance producer) and Danielle Giroux (Head of Distribution at Astrea Immersive). Watch the event recording below and read on for more details on the speakers and the key takeaways from the discussion.

Alex Winterbotham (experienced freelance producer)

Alex, an experienced freelance producer, spoke about his role in licensing content for the Immersive Arcade. The Immersive Arcade is the first national online collection of the best UK immersive content over the years. The key takeaway from this presentation is a very useful checklist that future licensors (museums, publishers, galleries, etc) can use when licensing a piece of immersive content. This can also be used by producers and immersive content creators to strategically think about their licensing journey.

Danielle Giroux, Head of Distribution, Astrea Immersive

Astrea Immersive is the first ever immersive distributor that works with online publishing and LBE (Location Based Experiences). They currently have a growing catalog of over 50 projects. Astrea was born to improve the relatively short (especially compared to other media such as film) lifespan of immersive content and the lack of monetisation of such content. Different options for licensing, distribution and publishing that an immersive producer can take advantage of in order to monetise their content were discussed in this presentation.

Key Takeaways

The presentations were followed by an interactive discussion hosted by Maddalena Crosti (Innovation Partner at Digital Catapult). Maddalena summarises the four key takeaways from this very productive discussion below:

  1. We need to start thinking about immersive content as a product that needs to be monetised. Too many pieces end up doing a festival launch and then not being seen by a larger audience. It’s a difficult process as the ecosystem of distributors is so fragmented. However creators can start thinking outside of the box on who the distributor could be – a brand? An arts and cultural venue? A stadium?

  2. Digital Publishing on online stores is still only available to few who have the right contacts. When projects do manage to publish, they should consider exclusivity carefully. An example of a successful project who leveraged exclusivity is Madrid Noir – the project had 3 months exclusivity on the Oculus Store but then were able to license on Viveport and Steam, creating multiple revenue streams.

  3. In TV and film there are established distributors who work with production companies as soon as content is commissioned. Astrea Immersive is the first distributor of immersive content that focuses on both online publishing and location based distribution. There is a gap in the market for this type of company.

  4. Licensing needs to be considered strategically as soon as development starts and should be a collaborative process – it’s not just up to the lawyers. In order for it to work, it needs to also involve creators, producers and technical teams. For example you may want to make different versions of your project so you can license to different bodies e.g. telecoms take 360 and Steam takes 6DOF.

About the Digital Catapult ‘Show & Tell’ Series

For the past few years, Digital Catapult has been running a programme to support the Audience of the Future demonstrators in collaboration with UKRI. The programme includes support such as brokering discounts on software licenses, acquiring free computing power, running collaborative workshops, and conducting research. One of the goals of this programme is to facilitate co-working and shared learning amongst the demonstrator consortia.

Aligned with this, during the second lockdown in March, the Digital Catapult team decided to experiment and run webinars using the Show & Tell format. A wider audience of award winners from Audience of the Future as well as the Creative Clusters was included. In fact, we wanted to encourage broader networking which was especially important during that time of isolation.

The Show & Tell events feature speakers from the immersive industry followed by a facilitated discussion. They are formatted around specific topics, which are for the most part community curated. A section in the registration form is dedicated to proposing a future topic and indicating interest in being a speaker.

By the time the sixth Show & Tell event in January 2022 came around, the Digital Catapult team felt it was appropriate to record and publish these events as the content is informative and thought provoking and useful to current and future industry stakeholders.

Show & Tell events

Below is a list of speakers and topics explored in previous Show & Tell series – prior to #6, there are no recordings, but materials from these sessions can be provided. If you would like more information, have any questions or are interested in participating or speaking at at Show & Tell event, please contact maddalena.crosti@digicatapult.org.uk.

Show & Tell #1 (5 March 2021)

Topic(s): Inclusive Design: Practices and Lessons Learned, Inclusive Design: Building from Individuality, Drawing on drawing: An exploration of the study of drawing without the visual channel.

Speaker(s): Will Humphrey (Sugar Creative), Lisa Bowers (Open University)

Show & Tell #2 (27 March 2021)

Topic(s): The UK at Home Audience for Virtual and Augmented Reality

Speaker(s): Aki Jarvinen, Digital Catapult

Show & Tell #3 (30 April 2021)

Topic(s): Digital Humans: Embodiment and Creation, Introduction to Metahuman Creator, Using Virtual Humans to Develop Real Human Skills

Speaker(s): Jamie Mossahebi (Epic Games), Ruth Hill and Chris Mallet (BodySwaps)

Show & Tell #4 (18 June 2021)

Topic(s): Immersive Audio: Interactivity and Tools, Non-verbal Interaction in Virtual Reality, VASAR

Speaker(s): Non-verbal Interaction in Virtual Reality

Show & Tell #5 (16 July 2021)

Topic(s): Commercialisation: Entering New Markets, Bringing Dislectek to Market, Straddling multi B2B Markets

Speaker(s): Ally Low (Lowtek Games), Ben Sainsbury (Marion Surgical / AoTF PIIC)

Show & Tell #5 (16 July 2021)

Topic(s): Commercialisation: Entering New Markets, Bringing Dislectek to Market, Straddling multi B2B Markets

Speaker(s): Ally Low (Lowtek Games), Ben Sainsbury (Marion Surgical / AoTF PIIC)

Show & Tell #6 (21 January 2022)

Topic(s): Licensing Immersive Content, Licensing Someone Else’s IP, Building an Immersive Distribution Pipeline: Monetisation through Publishing and Exhibitions

Speaker(s): Alex Winterbotham (experienced freelance producer), Danielle Giroux (Astrea Immersive)

Summary and recording: https://audienceofthefuture.live/2022/02/show-tell-series-licensing-immersive-content/

Show & Tell #7 (28 January 2022)

Topic(s): Archiving Immersive Creative Content

Speaker(s): Joanna Norman and Kate Bailey (V&A Museum), Aki Jarvinen (Digital Catapult)

Summary and recording: https://audienceofthefuture.live/2022/02/show-and-tell-archiving-immersive-content/

Main image photo by Stella Jacob on Unsplash