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3D Masters wrap up – market drivers for 3D

4 August 2010
3D Masters wrap up - market drivers for 3D

Charlotte Jones, Senior Analyst, Cinema at consultancy Screen Digest, began her presentation at 3D Masters 2010 by acknowledging 3D cinema as a major driver for the development of both 3D technology and content.

Some 27% of UK box office revenue in the year to date had been generated by 3D screenings, up from 14% in the whole of 2009, due in part to the fact that 3D cinemas are able to charge on average 37% more for tickets.

Taking traditional 2D into account, 3D on average adds 19% to box office revenues worldwide. Not all of this is through feature films however, as an estimated 12% to 15% of business comes from new opportunities such as the live coverage of sports and concerts.

With 3D now seen as the main incentive for cinemas to convert from analogue to digital, there are now 110,000 digital cinema screens worldwide. In 2009 alone the number showing 3D has more than tripled to 9,000, with interestingly growth being slightly higher outside the US. Similarly, three times as many 3D films were scheduled for release in 2010 than 2009, of which one third were live action or animation post-conversions.

Naturally TV set manufacturers are anxious to replicate the success of 3D cinema, especially now that the growth provided by HD is slowing down. So could 3DTV be the next boost for the television industry?

Major manufacturers including LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba certainly seem to think so, as all plan to have a 3D range in place by Christmas, mostly using active (switched shutter) spectacles for viewing. And if cinema is anything to go by, 3DTV could give content owners and broadcasters the much-needed chance to generate profitable premium product.

According to Jones, a total of 16 3DTV channels will have launched globally by the end of 2010, with 80% including sports content – spurred on by the Roland Garros tennis tournament in Paris and FIFA World Cup football in South Africa – plus a further 20 one-off event 3D broadcasts, some of which are likely to extend into dedicated broadcasts.

Among those operators announcing plans for 3D, 17% of the STB deployment is capable of receiving HD, a figure expected to rise to 55% in 2014 – statistics that bode well for those backing the ‘Frame and Infrastructure Compatible’ technology backed by Sky.

A total of 25m 3D sets are expected to be sold worldwide in 2013, accounting for more than 25% of all TV households in 2014. Jones noted that the choice of 3DTV screen size don’t match current buying patterns, as while 90% of SD sets sold in the UK have a screen below 45 inches, 3D TV buyers favour a larger screen.

Jones believed that continued evaluation of available 3D-capable display technology and especially standardisation of potential routes into the home were an essential pre-requisite for the widespread adoption of 3D TV. All of which provided a seamless segway into the next sessions on standards.

– Richard Dean

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