Telenet has made science fiction a reality with the launch of its new concept, The Park, which enables visitors to immerse themselves in virtual reality experiences in a fictitious world where they themselves play the lead role.

The innovation perfectly combines Telenet’s technology expertise with its track record in entertainment. It’s the next step on from on-screen interaction through social media, apps and websites, to viewers now being given the chance to “take part” in their favourite programmes themselves.

The concept, described as ‘phygital entertainment’, is a place where physical meets digital. The main experience is a ‘free-roam VR’ adventure where players can move around in a physical space without being attached to a specific framework or wires.

The players, equipped with VR goggles and a rucksack with sensors, enter a lifelike place where they and their team-mates play the lead role. There are 30 cameras in the playing room, which detect any movement. Initially, two games are available: ‘Moonlight survival’ and ‘Alien Defence’. In the first one, the players in the team have to fight against zombies, while in the second one, they act as a team of marines to save humankind. This will soon be extended to include other options.

Trends indicate that viewers want to be more closely involved in entertainment. This phenomenon is already established in sports events where extra camera positions, heat maps, and the use of sensors bring the action closer to the viewers. Now, with fiction series and films, too, the best entertainment extends well beyond the closing credits to extra experiences in social media, apps, concerts, and fan forums.

Telenet’s CEO, John Porter, said: “The best entertainment perceptions, whether we’re talking about a concert, a sports event, bungee jumping, or drinking coffee with a real barista all have one thing in common, namely that you enjoy them yourself to the full, that you’re fully involved in them, and that you can share them completely with friends and others. We want to give that feeling at Telenet. We want our viewers to experience intense entertainment. This is increasingly possible thanks to technology. For sports events, we’re already experimenting with new technology apparatus to bring the action closer to the viewers. By using virtual reality technology, we can, over time, also let people themselves take part in their favourite programme, series, or film.

“The Park is at the intersection of our core businesses, technology and entertainment. Telenet is in a unique position to form a link between content creation and the necessary infrastructure for experiencing that content. By extending investments in local video to other similar platforms, we can also involve new partners to extend the life cycle of a film, series, or programme, and that can only be good for the local media landscape.”
The Park is a corporate venture between Telenet and 9.5 Magnitude Ventures, a new type of venture capital fund specialising in tailor-made start-ups. Corporate venturing enables Telenet to develop this new business autonomously and flexibly and offers the opportunity for speed and flexible growth. Philippe De Schutter, currently Country Manager at Uber Eats, has been appointed as Managing Director.