Audience of the future

You will soon be able to become totally immersed in your favourite film, sport or other cultural activity, thanks to a UK government investment to support the best UK storytellers to create ground-breaking immersive experiences.


Audience of the future

The evolution of storytelling

We’ve told stories since the dawn of time.

Today's storytellers use the most exciting technology available to capture our imaginations.

The UK is home to some of the world’s leading creatives, who are using virtual, augmented and mixed reality to the turn their ideas into amazing stories.

What is the audience of the future challenge?

New immersive technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality are changing how we experience the world around us – including entertainment, sports, museums, shops and classrooms. They will fundamentally change products and services in the next 20 years, and transform how we experience the world.  

The audience of the future challenge will bring creative businesses, researchers and technology experts together to create striking new experiences that captivate the public.

Those funded through the challenge will adopt, exploit and develop immersive technologies to create new products and services. They will capture the world’s attention and grow the UK’s leading market position in creative content.

What’s the investment?

Up to £33 million is being invested in businesses and researchers to develop new products and services that exploit immersive technologies.

What is being funded

The funding is being invested in:

Demonstrator programme

An £18 million demonstrator programme is funding industry-led consortia in the creative industries to create new immersive experiences and test them with large audiences.

The projects will develop highly immersive technologies for people to enjoy sporting and entertainment events and performances and improve the visitor experience. This includes:

  • a consortium of ESL - the world’s largest e-sports content producer - academics and innovators, which will develop a new platform that uses gameplay data to transform how remote audiences experience sports
  • 2 new, multi-sensory, interactive worlds filled with dinosaurs and robots, in a project led by Factory 42 for London’s Natural History Museum and Science Museum
  • a Royal Shakespeare Company project with 15 specialist organisations from theatre, music, video production, gaming and research, to stream live performances to people’s mobile phones and extended reality headsets

Collaborative research and development

Up to £12 million will go to research and development projects in 3 areas:

  • to deliver insights into audience perceptions and behaviours
  • to improve the production of high-quality content and make it cheaper, faster and more accessible
  • to attract new private capital into this emerging sector

Industry centre of excellence

A new £10 million centre will support the development of cutting-edge creative training and research programmes in immersive storytelling to develop the UK creative talent pool. It will be part-funded through the creative industries clusters challenge.

The National Film and Television School and Royal Holloway University will run the centre, which will develop skills by offering experimental labs, workshops, placements and courses. It will support and co-fund 60 immersive productions with a focus on storytelling.

Hear from the creative industry

UK industry strengths


“The first thing to be proud of is our heritage, but the world's changing so fast, the UK needs to make sure we stay ahead of the curve.”
Jay Short, Technology Strategist, INITION

The challenges organisations face

How do we make work that is as beautiful, as epic, as affecting as we have been able to do on other mediums?”
Annette Mees, Head of Audience Labs, Royal Opera House

What the programme should achieve

“What we want to see come out of this is a format that everybody looks at and goes, great! That's a must have, I need to experience that.”
Rupert Harris, Creative Director, Animal Vegetable Mineral

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