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3D Rapidly Moving Into Cultural Mainstream

3D, once seen as an interesting novelty, is quickly becoming an important part of our lives, both as a new form of entertainment and an important adjunct to many industries, according to top executives speaking at last week’s conference, Paul Kagan’s 3D Media Markets, Presented by Panasonic (NYSE: PC). The conference was organized and moderated by veteran analyst Paul Kagan, renowned for his extraordinary insights into and understanding of the complexities of the media industries.

Kagan brought together top executives from the worlds of entertainment, advertising and finance, to discuss and debate the growing influence and market potential for 3D technologies. It was highlighted by keynote addresses by DreamWorks Animation CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Avatar Producer, Jon Landau, and RealD Chief Executive, Michael V. Lewis.

In addition, attendees heard from top executives from such companies as CBS Sports, Comcast, DirecTV, ESPN, and NVIDIA.

The 3D revolution, which recently began with motion pictures, is now spreading to television. According to Mr. Landau, the growing popularity of 3D on TV is causing the feature film industry to redouble its efforts to create even better 3D productions for the big screen.

Mr. Landau noted that Avatar’s 3D version was removed from theaters only because of a shortage of 3D screens. Released when there were little more than 3,300 3D screens in the U.S. and less than 8,000 total world-wide, that number will, by next summer, grow to more than 30,000 world-wide, Mr. Katzenberg predicted.

"In less than 20 years, anything presented digitally in public forums will be presented in 3D," Mr. Katzenberg said, who also noted that in 2010, six of the top 10 movies are in 3D. By year’s end, it will be eight of the top 12, he said.

"Every new communications or entertainment medium is greeted by customary doubts about its future," moderator, Paul Kagan said. "3D has not been exempt. But like TV, cable, cellphones and the Internet, 3D is destined to capture the attention and the hearts of the world’s media consumers."

Major television programmers including CBS, DirecTV, Discovery Communications, and ESPN presented their visions for and development of dedicated 3D channels. Ken Aagaard of CBS Sports, which recently shot the U.S. Open Tennis tournament in 3D, noted that once company executives saw 3D, they were deeply impressed.

"We were amazed at the buy rates for 3D versions of the Masters and auto racing," added Comcast Senior Vice President, Mark Hess.

Panasonic has made a major commitment to 3D, both in terms of offering a wide range of consumer displays; the world’s first professional, handheld 3D camera; and through a major programming commitment with DirecTV, helping to create America’s first full-time 3D channel - n3D, Powered by Panasonic.

According to Panasonic Vice President, Jeff Cove, that commitment will fuel not just increased entertainment opportunities, but in addition, these new tools will help open up 3D to a wide range of other uses, including improving education, helping find recoverable oil and gas deposits more efficiently, cutting development costs in the automobile industry, and improving the accuracy of surgical procedures.

 [November 8, 2010]


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