After a first immersive world in February around the Stade 2, France Télévisions is experimenting with a second one at Roland Garros. Feedback on a topic that everyone is talking about, but few are aware of.
Three months after their first life-size experience in the metaverse, France Télévisions and Stade 2 are back with a new immersive social space test (ESI), set in the heart of Roland-Garros, in collaboration with the French Tennis Federation. The space is accessible for free for the duration of the tournament via the VRChat virtual reality social platform. You go there as an avatar directly via your PC or using a virtual reality headset (PC VR headset, Meta Quest 1 and 2). “In this world we have reproduced all the emblematic places of Roland-Garros and the virtual studio of the Stade 2”, explains Vincent Nalpas, innovation director of France Télévision.
During the visit, we pass through different places of the tournament village, designed to be almost identical to reality: the legendary Philippe-Chatrier field, the French TV studio, the tournament museum … We can, if we wish, sit on a chair with a view on a giant screen visible everywhere and broadcasting real TV programs conducted by Maxence Regnault, sports journalist of the channel, go up to the terrace to serve yourself at the bar, visit the museum, play tennis … “Different types of interactions are proposed: everything is designed so that the visitor does what he wants: he can play tennis against a cannonball or against another avatar, visit the places, the museum, watch the daily live broadcast or even interact with Maxence if he is in the same instance (the virtual platform is organized in such a way that a world is made up of an unlimited number of instances, each of which has 40 avatars that can interact with each other, ed.) “, describes Vincent Nalpas. “Our reporter can change the instances. We can also imagine dedicating an instance to a private event, a press conference, etc.”
Everything revolves around visiting the premises with France 2 guests
Offering different opportunities for interaction is the first objective of this second experience, after the experimentation started in February, always around the Stage 2 program, but in a winter context. “The goal of our first test was essentially technical. Despite everything, 1,200 people came to visit us. There was really no opportunity to interact. That’s why we wanted to set up a new space here at Roland-Garros and create content with the department. sporty “, explains the innovation director of France Télévisions.
Although it is impossible to see the tournament matches in the metaverse right now, as the broadcast rights of FTV obviously are not global, it is just a matter of visiting the venues with the guests of France 2. the animations are done on the water and in based on opportunities. “There is still no precise or determined format, nothing is set in stone in this experiment. The idea is to allow Maxence and his guests to go around the world and let visitors discover how the other one happened. yesterday with Nelson Monfort who visited the museum with us and commented on the posters “. The pellets, half an hour or a few minutes, are then retransmitted on the metaverse. Some will be pushed onto social networks to promote the experience.
The cameras provided in the virtual space also allow you to film what is happening there. “It is a laboratory for us to imagine and test how to interact with these different cameras to design other formats, mini-shows and observe how the audience reacts, whether they are receptive or not,” says Vincent Nalpas. “We need to anticipate the uses of tomorrow, even if we don’t know yet if they will take over our audience. We need to understand what it means to work on the Web3 and the metaverse. This very concretely implies identifying the skills we have will be needed and how this will affect production. of our contents “, specifies Encarna Marquez, digital director of France Télévisions.
“These are all monetization opportunities for our management”
The second lesson learned from the very first experience in February and put to use in these days concerns precisely the technical skills. If the first immersive space was entirely designed and produced by the VRrOOm company (the same start-up that teleported Jean-Michel Jarre to the virtual concerts he held at the 2020 music festival and Notre Dame de Paris on December 31 of the same year, in full health crisis), for this second world FTV has already been able to partly count on its teams. “We are increasing our skills: not only are we learning to develop these different assets, which require gaming, 3D, IT, hosting know-how, but we are also better positioned to size the internal teams and external resources to be assigned to these projects. in the future, “explains Vincent Nalpas.
Each place also lends itself perfectly to the placement of advertising messages, as in real life, all around the courtyards, at the bar, around the open spaces for exposure, etc. “These are all monetization opportunities for our management that we can use to fund these worlds in the future,” she adds.
The future, in fact, is at the center of the question: these tests are now considered a more than obligatory passage for the public channel, which must position itself and be ready for use, certainly still very uncertain, but which can no longer be ignored. “Gen Z already spends 26% of their time playing games on the Web3 platform (Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft … ,, ed) : for these generations, gaming is the new television, with its interactions and its communities. At the same time, this public is very sensitive to environmental issues: will they agree to adopt a model whose ecological impact is significant? As public media, we have an obligation to ask ourselves this question. All this will have repercussions on the way in which the public will want to co-build this future with us “, analyzes Encarna Marquez. But it is not only this:” We are also studying the opportunities of Web3 in the short term and above all the way in which this market must be organized. It is essential that French and European actors and regulators position themselves there so that the promise of web 3.0 – a decentralized internet controlled by users and no longer dominated by a few platforms – can be fulfilled, “she concludes..