July 19, 2024
BBC invests in 3D streaming startup behind its new immersive gigs


The BBC has invested £500,000 in a virtual events startup creating immersive gigs for the broadcaster.

The UK-based Condense bills itself as the first company in the world to provide live streams of 3D videos in virtual spaces. Quietly, the startup recently began delivering these experiences to BBC audiences.

Last month, Condense powered the BBC’s first-ever live virtual concert. Singer Sam Tompkins took the digital stage for the milestone.

The BBC today revealed the partnership’s next moves. At their core is a virtual venue called the New Music Portal. It hosts interactive concerts that fans can attend from the comfort of their homes.

To create these experiences, Condense’s camera array films artists performing in the BBC’s iconic Maida Vale studios. Algorithms combine all the feeds into a single 3D video. The footage is then compressed and streamed into the virtual venue.

Viewers enter the environment through a web browser on their phone or laptop. Once inside, their avatars can explore the virtual world.

They can watch the gig from any angle, chat with fellow fans, share emotes, and break out dance moves. They can also interact with the artist, who sees into the venue through a screen while they perform.

Sam Tompkins performing in the BBC New Music Portal
Sam Tompkins performing at BBC Maida Vale Studios and streaming live in 3D to the New Music Portal. Credit: BBC
Sam Tompkins performing in the BBC New Music Portal

The BBC compares the New Music Portal to Fortnite and Roblox. So does Nick Fellingham, the CEO and co-founder of Condense. He described these games as “the new social networks.”

“They are the way young people socialise online, connect and share experiences in real-time,” he told TNW.

By working with Condense, the BBC hopes to generate new versions of these experiences. The broadcaster has already planned regular immersive gigs on BBC Radio 1’s New Music Show. It promises performances from “a host of exciting artists” this summer.

BBC bets virtual worlds are the future

Investing in Condense gives the BBC a chance to guide a new wave of virtual experiences. The funding will ensure that the broadcaster “stands to benefit” as Condense grows, the BBC said.

Young people are the primary target of the collaboration. The BBC wants Condense to engage these audiences and shape the future of content creation. A dedicated team will explore the opportunities in domains such as sports, education, and news.

Bellingham also has high hopes for the plans. “Traditionally, broadcasting was passive, but now users can actually be part of the experience,” he said. 

The next target for Condense is another virtual arena. Bellingham revealed the startup will soon enter the Meta Quest and the Apple Vision Pro.

He also shared a bold prediction for the market: “We believe that live-streamed 3D video has the potential to be the killer app for spatial computing.”

Condense’s Nick Fellingham is speaking at TNW Conference, which takes place on June 20-21 in Amsterdam. If you want to experience the event (and say hi to our editorial team), we’ve got something special for our loyal readers. Use the code TNWXMEDIA at checkout to get 30% off your business pass, investor pass or startup packages (Bootstrap & Scaleup).



Source link