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VR Adds Thrills to EPIX’s ‘Berlin Station’

Digital initiative will let fans explore spy drama’s world 5/16/2016 8:00 AM Eastern
The virtual world of EPIX's "Berlin Station"

EPIX will use virtual reality to help build fan engagement around its original series Berlin Station.


The spy thriller, set to premiere in October, will be supported by an interactive digital initiative that will provide users with a virtual-reality tour of the German capital that also features interactive clues that will help enhance the series’ storyline, according to Nora Ryan, executive vice president and chief of staff for EPIX.


The Paramount Television-produced, 10-episode Berlin Station, executive produced by Michaël Roskam (Bullhead) and Eric Roth (The Insider), follows a CIA agent who gets immersed in a conspiracy after going to Berlin to uncover the source of a leak who has supplied top secret information to an infamous whistleblower.


Read More: Three Questions for EPIX’s Mark Greenberg [subscription required]


The Berlin Station online site — accessible via all mobile devices on all platforms — will launch this summer and will feature several two-to-five minute videos that allow viewers to take a 360-degree look at points around the city, network executives said.


Among the video scenes is a virtual car chase that allows users to view a number of Berlin landmarks while picking up clues to the evolving storyline, according to Keary Hanan, EPIX senior vice president of digital programming & production.


Within the videos will be red, interactive “hot spots” that will reveal information about the series storyline or characters, according to Shane Lindley, EPIX’s senior director of digital programming & product.


The VR site is part of the Berlin Station marketing and promotional campaign launching this summer, and the site’s content will evolve and deepen as the series gets closer to launch.


“It gives us the opportunity to build engagement from the beginning,” Hanan said. If we were just driving our marketing message to just watch the series, there wouldn’t be this fun experience. We’re hoping to grab people early and get them engaged and then keep them with us throughout the story.”


Read More: MCN's Coverage of Virtual Reality


Once the series launches, EPIX will add new videos with the premiere of each episode that will expand the show’s story lines beyond what’s seen on screen. Fans will be able to participate in a uniquely immersive experience as the spy thriller unfolds, Ryan said.


EPIX said it is the first network to integrate an overlay into virtual reality experience. “Throughout the series we will look to increase engagement and sharing experience,” Lindley said. “Ultimately we want to create that social collateral in which you know something about the show that no one else does.”


Ryan said the VR content will be available free to all users across all Internet-connected devices in order to introduce a younger, digitally engaged audience to the network’s new original series.


“It’s nonlinear storytelling that we think will be very interesting for viewers,” she said.

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