Media Zone: Understanding the Three Ds of 3DRTV5 Mar, 2010 By: Timothy R. Hawthorne Response
Admit it: ever since “Star Trek” rebooted with the first of its “Next Generations,” you wanted a holodeck. But while interactive three-dimensional environments remain sci-fi fantasy, 3D TV should surface this year.
The reports from CES are exciting, yet ominous. ESPN and Discovery/Sony/IMAX are planning channels even now. (Yes! Tom Brady is in my living room!) But RealD, Sensio and Blu-ray 3D have introduced competing platforms. (No! I’ll end up with an extra set to connect to my high-def DVD player!)
Despite blogsful of breathless buzz, few have discussed how this might impact advertising. So here’s what my direct response colleagues should know: the three Ds of 3DRTV.
- Dearth. That sure sounds dark … daunting … depressing. It should. 3D TV has no user base, no settled technical specifications and no content providers on the air, over cable or at retail. Even if you created the best 3D spot the world ever saw … uh, wait a minute… the world can’t see it. There aren’t any channels to air it. Sony exec Hiroshi Yoshioka says the 3D market should reach mid- and low-end customers in a couple of years. How? People just squeezed their recession-tight budgets to buy new high-def sets. Talk about upgrade fatigue. You should replace your brand new HDTV already? Barriers to 3D entry are plentiful. In addition to the new set you’ll need, and insufficient content, you’ll also have to wear funny glasses. That’s another dealbreaker: Discomfort!
- Dollars. Consumers aren’t the only ones watching them. HD production is costly enough, and 3D demands even more dollars for specialty cameras, high-capacity media and storage, and countless hours to retrain your crew. And you still haven’t bought time slots. Avails may be inexpensive briefly — as newly launched networks cut deals to attract clients — but more likely, the lack of venues will drive media costs up. In even the newest media, supply and demand still holds sway.
- Distraction. While embracing tech hotness is tempting, it has to assist us, not enslave us. High definition passes that test; 3D looks sketchier. HD surround sound provides more immersive music for more potent emotional hooks. Extra screen real estate lets us run crawls and display offers without obscuring the main shot. Increased resolution lets advertisers prove they have nothing to hide, increasing consumer confidence. Admittedly, 3D creatives would reach out and grab viewers. Marketing Week reports that 88 percent of respondents who saw a 3D movie also remember the 3D ad. But charging hard to 3D risks diverting our attention from selling. DRTV is all about ROI. Outside of exercise equipment — and Chia Obama, perhaps — it’s hard to think of product categories where 3D would enhance sales. We need ubiquitous media, and to manage production costs carefully. For the foreseeable future, 3DRTV would allow neither.
If you buy the first three, I’ll throw in a fourth D, absolutely free: Don’t. Not yet, anyway. Better now to invest in more high-impact scripts, jaw-dropping demos, gripping testimonials, and captivating talent. But if someone comes along with that holodeck … n