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Sony Pictures CEO: 3D Blu-ray Movies Not Enough to Drive Household Adoption

7 Dec, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Hollywood’s marketing of 3D Blu-ray Disc movies won’t be enough to drive wider consumer adoption of 3D in the home, the head of Sony Pictures said.

Speaking Dec. 7 in an investor call with William Blair & Co.in Chicago, Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in-home adoption of 3D has been stymied by a dearth of compelling content beyond movies.

Lynton said greater availability of sports programming and video games in 3D would help jumpstart the format among consumers.

Indeed, with many games already available in 3D and early attempts to broadcast college football — in addition to the 2010 Beijing Olympics and The Masters — well-received, the belief is that expanded sports coverage could help 3D clear remaining hurdles into the home.

“It’s going to be based on what people want to watch,” Lynton said. “I don’t think that [3D] movies are going to drive [in-home adoption.]”

The CEO said consumers want to watch 3D movies in the home, but he believes that sports and video gaming will be more of a “pull” for consumers compared with movies. Adoption would be driven by "sports, nature programming like what Discovery is doing, and gaming," he said.

Sony, IMAX and Discovery Channel are partners in 3Dnet, the 3DTV channel carried by DirecTV and other multichannel video programing distributors.

“I think gaming will be a major driver,” Lynton said.  

Sony is releasing seven theatrical movies in 3D in 2012, including reboots of the “Spider-Man” and “Men in Black” franchises. At the same time, domestic 3D viewership on new releases ranges from 40% to 60%, which is down from previous years, according to William Blair.  

Meanwhile, international 3D theatrical attendance is up 60%, due in part to the novelty of the format.

“Part of the reason is that [3D movies] are newer [abroad] and you are continuing to see digital screens roll out more aggressively because there are fewer of them,” Lynton said, adding that Sony would only release titles in 3D if the format enhanced the quality of the movie.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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