Ovum: Broadcasters Not Interested in 3D

A London-based research firm reports that broadcasters rate production of 3D content and channels as their lowest technology investment priority, and the lack of programming for consumers who have bought a 3DTV will continue.

In the new report, “The State of 3D,” Ovum says it interviewed senior IT and business executives in the broadcast industry throughout Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific as part of its Media and Broadcast Technology Investment Strategies survey.

When asked to rate their strategic priorities for 2011, senior IT and business executives rated “production of 3D content and/or launch of 3D channels” as the lowest priority for strategic investment. Fifty-three per cent of respondents said 3D content production was “not an important business consideration”, the highest figure of all 11 investment areas. Meanwhile, no broadcasters in Europe or North America viewed 3D as a “critical investment area”.

“Several broadcasters, such as BSkyB, have launched 3D channels, but the high cost of 3D production, particularly live content, has limited content availability and delayed some channel launches,” said Tim Renowden, Ovum analyst and author of the report, commented. “Given the lack of enthusiasm for investing in 3D content production and delivery expressed by broadcasters, this situation is unlikely to change rapidly.

“This ambivalence towards investment in 3D content production and creation of 3D channels, particularly for North American broadcasters, leaves a big hole in the availability of 3D content, and tells us that the lack of 3D programming we have seen during 2010 is unlikely to improve in 2011. This leaves a heavy burden on packaged content, such as Blu-Ray DVDs, and streaming content as the primary source of 3D content for consumers who have purchased or intend to purchase 3DTVs.”

According to the report, the high cost of investment in infrastructure and personnel is a major factor in the reluctance of broadcasters to invest in 3D production. “The lack of broadcast content means console gaming is likely to provide an important driver of 3D adoption, with Sony promoting the technology on its PlayStation 3,” Renowden said. “Gaming has the advantage that incremental costs of 3D production are much lower than for filmed entertainment.”

The report comes several weeks after another survey from DisplaySearch paints a bullish retail picture for 3DTV sets over the next several years, with sales of 3DTV sets expected to represent more than 50 percent of worldwide TV set sales by 2014.