There has been a lot of hype recently about 3-D TV. Just last year, 3-D was all the rage at the cinema, with films like “Avatar,” “Up” and “Coraline” drawing in the crowds. Now it’s the turn of the consumer electronics industry to capitalize on the technology, with brands like Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic and Sharp all fighting to be the first to bring 3-D into our homes.
It’s being hailed as the biggest revolution since the introduction of color. I caught the new 3-D TV advertisement from Samsung this week which has been created to fuel the excitement and it got me thinking about how much of a splash 3-D TV really could make.
What is particularly interesting is the ripple effects that will be created along the broader value chain from production to delivery. Most of the noise at the moment surrounds the hardware manufacturers–and rightly so, they stand to gain a lot of revenue if they can convince us that this will truly change our lives–but 3-D TV creates a wealth of opportunities in other adjacent industries too.
For media companies and content producers, 3-D offers the opportunity to immerse and engage audiences in whole new ways. It’s questionable whether TV staples, like news shows, soaps and documentaries will see huge value in moving to the new format, but for sports and live events broadcasting in 3-D seems like a no-brainer and content providers should be able to charge a premium for the service. The first televised 3-D football match was recently broadcast by Sky in the UK, between Manchester United and Chelsea, in 1,000 pubs up and down the country, putting fans right in the thick of the action. ESPN’s 3-D network will launch with coverage of the 2010 World Cup.
3-D TV will no doubt have a huge impact on the video game industry too. Sony has announced that it will upgrade the PS3 later this year to make it 3-D compatible, and it’ll be just a matter of time before producers start taking advantage of the technology to find even newer ways of entertaining us.
There are big opportunities for advertisers and brand builders as well. Research in the U.S. shows that when viewing in 3-D, people have a deeper connection with the subject matter. Advertisers, no doubt, will use this to create new, more memorable, emotionally engaging creative work that works on a deeper sensory level to connect with the audience, increasing recall and impact. I’m sure it won’t be long before we start seeing job posts for 3-D specialists in advertising agencies.
Even apparently unrelated industries like luxury and fashion will likely benefit. (I can already see Armani and Diesel-branded 3-D glasses for the home becoming the next “must-have” accessory).
As with all nascent technologies, it is impossible to know just what level of impact they will have at the outset. Many see 3-D as a low value-add gimmick, but I’m not so sure. Today it’s the consumer electronics industry that’s pushing for us to make the leap, but as the technology gathers momentum, other industries with a commercial interest will join them and it will become increasingly difficult for us to resist. It’s just a matter of time.