New packaging opportunities emerge with 3-D Blu-ray video

How does one distinguish a 3-D video product with its packaging? That question is now on the table for companies faced with the challenge of marketing 3-D titles in a crowded video market.

Replicator Technicolor estimates that 30 3-D Blu-ray Discs are being produced for this year and next. Most of those titles, however, are tied to specific hardware, making the packaging less important.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment marketed the first 3-D Blu-ray stand-alone product at retail. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” came out in June, while “Monster House” is set for release on Sept. 14. What could be the first day-and-date 2-D DVD and 3-D Blu-ray release will come later this year with “Resident Evil: Afterlife.” To make the titles stand out, Sony chose a sleek, clear packaging to distinguish the 3-D content.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will follow on Nov. 16 with a packed four-disc (including DVD, 3-D Blu-ray and digital copy) release of “A Christmas Carol,” noting the 3-D content along the top in banner form.

Packaging experts are hoping that as more 3-D hardware enters homes, necessitating the need for more stand-alone 3-D Blu-rays, the packaging for 3-D Blu-ray will become more extravagant.

“3-D content on Blu-ray, I feel, has the opportunity to be real brand specific,” said Shelli Kaiser, director of marketing and business development for packaging company Pack Appeal. “It’s still a Blu-ray Disc, but studios could explore an alternative to plastic. The testing is very demanding for paperboard, and it would give us non-plastic case producers a chance to showcase our solutions.”

Daniel Lax, VP of business development for disc case company Clear-Vu/Nexpak, said he’d like to see someone take a 3-D Blu-ray chance with the company’s new Amigo line of fold-out paperboard panel cases, which provide added “graphic street appeal with texture, enhanced color and extra panel space for graphics and literature.”

It’ll be up to the packaging experts to promote 3-D releases in unique ways, said Andy Parsons, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) promotion committee in the United States.

“The BDA’s role with respect to packaging is to define a consistent way for consumers to identify Blu-ray 3-D content without interfering with the creative package designs the studios develop for individual titles,” he said. “We’ve done this by requiring that the Blu-ray 3-D logo be placed on compliant products, using either the portrait or landscape version. That way, consumers should be able to easily determine if a title is a 3-D version or a traditional 2-D version.”