What is the potential impact of Audience of the Future funding and the growth of immersive technologies on the Creative Industries? We asked industry practitioners at the Audience of the Future briefing event, held in London in October 2018.

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £8 million in innovation projects related to immersive content. The Audience of the Future: Production Innovation for Immersive Content (PIIC) competition, which closes for applications on Wednesday 28 November, is generating considerable industry interest, with standing room only at briefing events around the country, and numerous new collaborations being initiated between content producers, technologists and researchers.

The enthusiasm is understandable: immersive technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality are changing how we experience the world around us, and the creative industries are at the forefront of this. The UK, with its long-standing strengths in the production of creative content, is well positioned to be a global leader in this new market. The recently published Immersive Economy in the UK Report suggests that British companies are already responsible for producing 9% of the global market for immersive content, and with strong potential for growth.

The manner in which people experience and participate in creative content can be expected to change profoundly over the next few years. New products and services will be developed, with unpredictable changes in user and consumer expectations. For directors, artists, curators, designers, performers and many more, there will be powerful new ways to tell stories and engage with audiences.

Alongside new forms of creative expression it is expected that there will also be significant commercial benefits for creative businesses able to seize the opportunity. New revenue streams will be generated, existing business models will have to be reconfigured, and there will be corresponding opportunities for investment and start-up activity across a range of creative sectors.

It is for this reason that, as part of UKRI’s Audience of the Future programme, this R&D competition has been launched for UK-based creative producers, innovators, researchers, technologists and entrepreneurs. The projects, collaborations, prototypes and products to emerge from this will help creative professionals to make new forms of immersive experience in more effective ways, and for the UK to firmly establish itself as a world leader for immersive content production.

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