It needs to be noted that many who purchase the new 3D TV sets want to play 3D games on them first and foremost. Watching video only comes second.
We have been distributing 3D content all over the world and so far our experience is that
– major sports
contents are the main drivers (Disclaimer: We distribute two out of three).
Sports is oftentimes the main driver for PayTV products and a lot of 3D attention has been aimed at top sports venues like the Football Premier League at Sky U.K. However, American Football, Basketball or Soccer predominantly broadcast scenes from a long distance at a wide angle. Both do not translate well into 3D. This is a perfect example of why not all good two dimensional programming is good 3D content.
Movies are the other pillar of new 3D offerings and the carefully scripted Avatar made great use of 3D. Not all movies will be able to showcase 3D as effectively and in 2010 there have been several disappointments in theatrical releases. Nevertheless the higher ticket prices and larger audiences for 3D movies will bring more top movies in 3D into theatres around the world. These will “trickle down” to BluRay releases and licensing to broadcasters. Global Media Consult represents a slate of 20-30 medium budget stereo 3D movies from independent producers.
In a lot of media technologies in the past the adult industry has been at the forefront of innovation (Internet, VOD, DVD) and 3D certainly seems to make sense for this genre. However, I am not convinced, because the large 3D broadcasters are all targeted at a relatively mainstream audience. The first 3D VOD platforms and 3D channels are run by large stockmarket-listed companies that oftentimes shy away from adult content. Nevertheless Playboy and Penthouse are already active in the 3D space in some territories.
Also, I think it is important to mention costs. At present all the 3D buyers have relatively limited payTV distribution (low subscriber figures) or low VOD take up rates for 3D (compared to HD). Hence they cannot afford to pay a large premium unless the content represents huge promotional value (mostly major sport events and top Hollywood movies). Therefore, at WildEarth.TV, the world´s largest 3D producer, we have taken a low-cost approach to generate hundreds of hours of live programming from exiting wildlife spots. The vast volume is then edited into higher quality and premium priced documentary products. This approach, plus the ability to monetize the content in 2D (over the Internet and mobile devices) enables a profitable value proposition for the producer.
In THIS Nielsen report some numbers are published. It seems like content buyers are looking for sports (64%), nature and animals (62%), action&adventure (60%), movies (54%), video games (48%), Sci-Fi (43%), Travel (40%), and music concerts (35%). My personal take on these numbers is that it remains to be seen which content performs well, which sells well, and where the highest margins for producers lie (as production costs vary widely).