Newen (TF1) relies on the metaverse to sell and promote its production

Its flagship series “Plus belle la vie” is coming to an end, but Newen has other content in its catalog. Owned by TF1 since 2015 (100% in 2018), the producer and distributor is continuing its international development. In 2017, the third season of its “Versailles” series was sold in 135 countries.

These sales of audiovisual productions have, however, been profoundly turned upside down by the Covid. As pointed out during the IMAgine Day Metaverse by Marianne Carpentier, director of innovation and technologies, this process is closely linked to physical events, such as trade fairs.

Capturing foreign buyers during the Cannes Film Festival

During these meetings, producers must bring their buyers together in one place. “The Covid put a big blow to our transactions and our negotiations since our buyers were spread all over the world”, underlines the manager of Newen Studios.

The company therefore had to come up with other ways of presenting its production and selling. In January 2022, the Innovation Director made a presentation to the Comex of NFT technologies and metaverse… without completely convincing. But if the confinements have ended in France, they continue in other countries, in particular in Asia.

In February 2022, the distribution director was thus directly confronted with the lingering effects of the pandemic. Indeed, no Asian buyer will a priori be present at the Cannes Film Festival in May, a major meeting for content sellers.

The expressed need suddenly becomes much more tangible. The decision is made to design a metaverse space to receive customers.

In search of service providers, Marianne Carpentier met Komodal, specialized in services and advice on the metaverse and virtual worlds, and Manzalab, publisher of miniverses, including Teemew, a virtual space dedicated to training. The objective is to quickly design an environment adapted to cinema standards.

“The appointment was that of the Cannes Film Festival where the greatest producers meet (…) The “wow” effect was essential for this clientele. Impossible to offer a pixelated virtual space à la Roblox”, emphasizes the innovation director. To develop this tailor-made environment, Newen collaborated with the creative teams of Manzalab.

Virtual and immersive stand and meeting rooms

To join the space, users first create an avatar after uploading a photo. The step requires less than a minute to come up with an avatar – which can be customized. The connection is made without headphones virtual reality to facilitate use.

Newen metaverse project photo
The metaverse according to Newen

Designed for the Cannes Film Festival, elements of the city have been modeled, in 360 view. This modeling is scalable. In November, Newen takes part in an event in London for the presentation in the metaverse of a new series. The decor will therefore be adapted to offer a view of the British capital.

The developed metaverse is presented as a “virtual stand” integrating multiple functionalities adapted to the audiovisual profession. Thus, activatable screens make it possible to broadcast trailers and other trailers. Avatars can interact. Once in close proximity, conversation circles are automatically created.

“I can thus discuss in one-to-one mode in a very fluid way. If I walk away, the communication stops. This makes it possible to create private conversations even with several people inside the environment,” explains Marianne Carpentier.

The Teemew space of Newen Studios also includes meeting rooms, four in total, three of which are “fairly classic” and a “Comex or Codir room allowing 20 people to gather around the table. » These virtual places integrate screens for sharing presentations for an operation comparable to a video conferencing on Teamsplus avatar.

Team meetings and showcasing

After a first test at the Cannes Film Festival, the innovation director is pleased with the result with “a very strong feeling of presence, compared to a Teams where you don’t have the impression of being physically with the others. attendees. In addition, the exchanges are much more fluid. »

Newen’s metaverse continues its life beyond the festival. The recruitment at the end of September of a metaverse project manager was carried out directly on the platform. Around fifty initial interviews were carried out using this method, enabling the presentation of the environment and the finalization of a selection of candidates.

Other uses are being put in place. Innovation center team meetings are held regularly in the metaverse, alternating with Teams. “Through this practice, we acculturate ourselves to these virtual environments. And other departments, including legal and communications, are now knocking on the door to also hold their team meetings in this configuration.

But Newen wants above all to develop applications for the sale of its media. In addition to business meetings, the TF1 subsidiary took the decision “to spend the second by creating spaces that represent the worlds of the series” in the project and awaiting buyers.

In October, a new space dedicated to a series welcomed channels from all over the world, with the (virtual) presence of its director. “It’s not just a presentation space. Visitors can walk around and interact with different screens in a setting modeled on the world of the series.

Immersion has the advantage of “gamifying the experience of buyers” and thus encouraging the purchase of content. To design this new environment, Newen had to develop the graphic part, that is to say the decor. A step that requires 1 to 2 months. On the other hand, all the functionalities, including those of private discussion, are natively integrated into the Teemew solution.

A virtual auditorium for previews and training

Finally, the audiovisual group has designed a last space, an auditorium, intended for presentations in front of a large audience, for example for the launch of series or cinema films. To acquire it, Newen uses the auditorium module of the platform, here “a virtualized cinema room. »

The auditorium is intended in particular for previews. But it was also used for an HR coaching program for women in the Bouygues group. “We organized a day during which everyone came to introduce themselves. Each was thus able to make a pitch in front of all the others,” explains Marianne Carpentier.

“For training in public speaking, the metaverse is of real interest. »

Marianne CarpentierChief Innovation and Technology Officer, Newen

This virtual mode of presentation has the advantage of “de-stressing” the participants, adds the manager. “For training in public speaking, the metaverse is of real interest. »

After these tests, Newen plans to open the auditorium to oral training for young authors in front of an audience of in-house producers.

To capture the feelings of users of these virtual environments, Newen has also deployed an emotion measurement tool designed by a startup. The solution queries the listeners of a presentation, who respond in a few words. Thanks to artificial intelligence processing, the company obtains a measurement of the feeling.

“This will allow us to measure the interest that producers may have for a project,” says the innovation and technology director. Other tools should be deployed to capture sentiment and therefore data. But be careful not to dehumanize the work either.

“Let’s go deep into the virtual worlds, work differently”, recommends Marianne Carpentier in conclusion, “but at the same time let’s play sports, let’s develop our intuition, the mechanisms of our brain… all our super human powers. Let’s work on both aspects in parallel”.

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