By Helga Henry

I can’t wait for Hello Culture Remix next week, taking place in partnership with the BBC as part of Digital Cities Week.

For many years now I’ve hosted Hello Culture where we’ve examined identity, the human side of data and “Sound and Vision” – how immersive experiences combine sound, vision and storytelling to create something entirely new.

Telling tales is as old as time:  it’s in our DNA.  We huddled round fires and conjured up shapes and patterns in the flames, we traced the stars and gave them forms and names, we put tales to music and wandering bards got paid (in food, mead and shelter) to entertain.

And now, as Hello Culture has shared and shown over the years, digital technologies and a new mindset has exploded the possibilities of the shapes, forms and trajectories that the tales can take.

The technology has revolutionised our experience of stories in many ways – but one thing I’m particularly struck by is how the technology has enhanced our ability to turn what was once a more passive appreciation of story-telling (with a uniform time, place and experience) into a much more holistic and satisfying experience.

I’m influenced in my thinking by the work of Pine and Gilmore in “The Experience Economy” where they state:

“An experience occurs when [an organisation] intentionally uses services as a stage and the goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.  While commodities are fungible, goods tangible, and services intangible, experiences are memorable.”

A great illustration of the impact of digital in providing memorable, immersive tale-telling is with the (then) breakthrough Bond film – “Casino Royale”.  When that first came out – unbelievably 12 years ago – you could just about control the time that you saw it by choosing a screening time at the cinema that fit with your schedule.

Then – if you bought the DVD (some months after its initial release) and had the hardware in your house – you could watch it when you wanted (or at least, wherever your hardware was).

Fast forward 12 years and now it’s effectively free and on demand across a range of streaming services.  So on one level the price of viewing Casino Royale has effectively gone away (I can buy the DVD for £2 on Ebay). And I can stream it or download it to my device and watch almost anywhere.

Consider now Secret Cinema’s new experience in London – just extended for another month or so – is their immersive and inimitable take on Casino Royale.  Prices start at £49 for a standard ticket and go up to £175.  1500 people per show.

But I can buy the DVD on Ebay for £2.

So what is the premium?  It’s the experience premium.  At Secret Cinema I don’t “see” the film – I live it.  Reviews have time and again raved about how “It was like I was in the movie”; how everyone’s experience was unique with recommendations such as “If I did it again I’d watch less and talk more”.

Telling Tales has come to life. Join us on 24th September and let the speakers and content bring this fascinating subject come to life for you.

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