XR Stories partners with WarnerMedia

XR Stories and WarnerMedia have formed a partnership to explore the future of media and entertainment. The research and development challenge – 5G Futures: Bringing a fresh approach to the future of media and entertainment in a 5G connected world – is designed to highlight key innovators in the UK’s creative industries sectors. WarnerMedia chose to work with two companies, Prox & Reverie and Charisma.ai, out of 70 potential partners. The businesses will work with WarnerMedia to develop new concepts of 5G-powered experiences, products and services. The partners are investing more than £350,000 in the initiative and the projects.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Creative Industries Clusters and Audiences of the Future Programmes, together with the Department of International Trade initiated the partnership between WarnerMedia and XR Stories. Working with WarnerMedia, XR Stories developed the ambitious challenge for UK creative companies: to set out their vision of the future of the media and entertainment industries powered by emerging 5G technologies, and to create and test concepts and prototypes with WarnerMedia.

Prox & Reverie, based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, are content makers, innovation technologists and experience designers formed to usher in the next generation of XR magic for new audiences.

Prox & Reverie will be exploring the storytelling potential of volumetric spaces with their project INTERCHANGE, a portable physical doorway system capable of connecting worlds, both real and fictional. Audiences will step through doorways into their favourite story world or sports event, interacting with their favourite characters or stars. 

Charisma.ai, headquartered in Oxford, and with offices in Los Angeles, delivers ground-breaking digital products for media companies, running and maintaining complex live interactive events, and building commercially successful strategies for corporate partners. Their team has won many awards, including BAFTA and Emmy nominations. 

Charisma.ai’s project will place audiences inside TV episodes so they are part of the story, with the ability to talk to characters using natural language, and change the narrative as a result. This will break new ground in interactive storytelling and set a new standard for immersive storytelling.

Martin Taylor, Director of Prox & Reverie, says: “The dividing border between real and fictional worlds is slowly falling away thanks to immersive technologies and the power of 5G. Now, the opportunity is to deliver true multi-reality transport and who better to explore this with, than WarnerMedia’s innovation team and their incredible universe of characters. We’re thrilled at the opportunity to partner with WarnerMedia on this journey and to work with XR Stories in further cementing Yorkshire as a centre for immersive innovation”

Guy Gadney, Co-founder and CEO of Charisma.ai, says: “We are excited to be working with WarnerMedia and XR Stories to create a step-change forward in storytelling. The creative use of AI to place audiences inside stories, talking to the characters they love, is the unique experience that Charisma.ai provides for the TV industry, and we look forward to taking great steps forward with WarnerMedia in the coming months.”

Professor Andrew Chitty, Challenge Director UKRI, says: “XR Stories’ partnership with WarnerMedia is a strong endorsement of the power and potential of the UK creative industries and the creative R&D base we are building through the Creative Industries Cluster Programme. The UK has some of the best and most innovative storytellers in the world and through working with global partners like WarnerMedia, we are bringing that creative potential for the next generation of media experiences to a worldwide audience.”

Damian Murphy, XR Stories Director, says: “These projects will now be delivered over the next few months with support from our XR Stories team. We are particularly excited to see the prototypes that will emerge, how they are received by their audiences and what we can learn from them to help shape future XR Stories research and development opportunities here at the University of York.”

Published on 19 April 2021

Filed under: Digital storytelling, R&D Projects, XR Stories