3D TV fails to fire imagination

Joseph O'Halloran

Despite a huge amount of marketing hype and a commensurate amount of marketing dollars outlining its many virtues and services actually rolling out across the US and the larger Western European countries, 3D TV has yet to fire the imagination of the buying public.

According to findings in Deloitte’s new “Revolutions 2010” survey, a special “pulse” edition of “The State of the Media Democracy” survey identifying significant trends in consumer adoption of entertainment technology such as 3D TV, an overwhelming majority, 83%, do not regard 3D as important enough to prompt them to buy a new television. Of those who own flat panel TV, three-fifths would not pay any more for a 3D capable television, and just over one in five (21%) would be willing to spend more than 10%.

This may be explained that the timing of the roll out is poor with 72% of US consumers having cut their overall entertainment budget according to a Deloitte "State of the Media Democracy Survey" in 2009.

What may also provide explanation for the lack of enthusiasm is the fact that Deloitte’s survey shows that only 9% of Americans have actually seen 3D TV in the last six months, with 2% less actually purchasing 3D content for the home. Just over half of these (55%) say that the 3D experience met their expectations and just less than a quarter (24%) say it fell below their expectations.

“3D TV penetration is at a very early stage and a number of obstacles stand in the way of adoption,” Ed Moran, director, Deloitte Services LP, who advises companies in the areas of strategic planning, product innovation, competitive positioning and digital convergence, offered in explanation .said Moran. “3D glasses are a perfect example. Aside from possibly being uncomfortable and geeky, they are also a barrier to the multitasking that consumers engage in while watching TV, including surfing the web, reading email, talking on instant message, and reading books, newspapers and magazines.”

Indeed on the subject of glasses, 30% of respondents who were underwhelmed by 3D stated that they do not like wearing them with an additional 31% of consumers who had watched 3D content not feeling that it had enhanced their entertainment experience in any appreciable way.

Another key gating factor would appear to be the fundamentals of the technology itself: 13% of consumers who were disappointed by 3D content reported feeling physically ill/uncomfortable after watching 3D programming.

As one may suspect for a technology with a large price tag, Millennials were revealed as the age demographic with greatest enthusiasm for the 3D, with nearly 40% stating that they would buy a new TV that allows them to watch programs in 3D with glasses and 55% without glasses.

"Pay attention to the Millennials, they'll lead the adoption of 3D TV," hinted Moran. "Millennials also express the greatest desire to pay a premium for the 3D experience in both the home and the cinema. They are a viable, near-term market for companies to focus on as the technology and consumer experience evolves."