3D BluRays are getting more popular as most of the new BluRay players have the 3D functionality already built-in (just as most of the newer TVs are now 3DTVs). As I recently traveled around the world for many 3D meetings, conferences and exhibitions I sneaked into retailers in Germany, USA and Japan to get a better understanding
of the global 3D BluRay market. I am guessing that these three markets are the most important in the world, with the possible exception of the U.K. Most Asian markets are doing well in 3D in general, but the home entertainment industry remains tiny in these places as pirated cheap DVDs and VCDs dominate the market. So where to get the cheapest 3D flix? Where do labels make the most money with the 3D premium?
THE CHEAPEST 3D FILMS
On average Germany was not only the market with the most 3D BluRays in retail shops (as reported by IHS at MIPTV 2012), the country also has the lowest average prices. The seven titles that I looked at sold for an average price of 29.81$ when converted from Euros. The eight films I studied in the USA cost an average of $32.77 while Japan is almost exactly double at $65.63 per film (sample size: 5). In each country I also added a few data points from online retailers. The price of anything doesn’t really mean much – other than by the power of online shopping and cheap global shipping you can get a bargain abroad. In the first lecture of macroeconomics we learn about the purchasing power parity (PPP) that incorporates the different income levels to price comparisons. With this logic, the U.S. beats Germany, as the ‘cheapest’ country to buy 3D BluRays. Finally, another way to compare international prices, the BigMac Index, dated January 2012, shows us how many BigMacs will buy you a 3D BluRay: It is 6.7 in Germany, 7.8 in the U.S. and 15.8 in Japan.
Now, of course this method is not very scientific and the sample size certainly not representative, but it was fun. And I do think that it gives a good first indication. I encourage all of you to add to this ‘research’ by adding prices from your country or retailer. Please send me an email at office@3DContentHub.com Let’s share! I have added the date of observation, and a picture/link as ‘evidence’ wherever possible. Here is the public spreadsheet.
THE HIGHEST 3D PREMIUMS
Let’s play with this some more. How much of a price premium does 3D get when compared to the regular (2D) BluRay? We know that it is a couple of bucks at the box office, but in the BluRay store the price premiums can get crazy. I had to take a few films out of the dataset as there clearly were some special promotions at play (In Germany ‘Glee 3D’ was at 100% price premium and in the U.S. at Best Buy ‘Legend of the Guardians 3D’ was 167% more expensive). Without these outliers my data shows that on average the U.S. retailers (and therefore the labels) only get a 22% premium for a 3D version of a film. This is good news for consumers but a weak signal to producers planning new film projects. They may not be incentivized to shoot in 3D. In Japan, the 3D version sold at an average of 38% higher than the 2D BluRay. In Germany consumers are faced with a whopping 59% ‘3D Tax’. This is part of the reason why there are more 3D BluRays in this market than anywhere else on the planet. And, sadly, at these prices, it makes commercial sense for labels to churn out many 2D to 3D converted re-releases, many of poor quality.
AND NOW, WHAT?
Yes, we have looked at this market a lot and believe that it is time for independent 3D film producers to publish 3D BluRays in certain markets – both in physical retail and online. I am proud to announce that we are launching a spectacular 3D BluRay compilation in 5 territories soon. The label is called ‘3D Content Hub’, just like our company. At least two more high profile documentaries are following before September and if all goes well, we will have up to ten titles in a shop near you soon. This is the first and only label specialized in 3D and we look forward to partner with you. Let us know about your 3D content or your ability to partner with us to bring more 3D BluRays to consumers internationally.
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