“Avatar” has likely been the single most significant catalyst thus far for adoption of the technology. Its success at the box office has spurred movie theatres to accelerate their orders for 3D systems, while at the same time increasing consumer awareness. Recent industry figures peg box office receipts for the movie at ~$2.64 billion, surpassing Titanic as the top grossing movie ever. But while Avatar may be the focus of the 3D entertainment world currently, there are widespread efforts in the works from several different types of content creators as well as consumer electronics companies. DreamWorks Animation (DWA) has been one of the prime proponents of 3D entertainment over the last several years. Going forward all of their movies will be offered in 3D, including the highly anticipated “How To Train Your Dragon” which will be out in theaters this month. ESPN will be launching its 3D network in June of this year. Plans are to broadcast at least 85 live sporting events during its first year including select World Cup matches. Discovery Communications (DISCA - parent company of Discovery Channel), Sony (SNE), and Imax (IMAX) have announced a venture to launch the first ever 24/7 dedicated 3D network, expected to be launched in 2011. In the Video Game industry there are already over 400 games which can be played in 3D on PCs, and this summer the 1st 3D games will be available for Sony’s PS3 console system.
While content creators are busy developing movies, television programming, and video games, consumer electronics companies are ramping production of 3D enabled televisions. The early returns are positive, as Panasonic (PC) just announced that their 3D televisions sold out in the US during the first week of availability. Expectations vary for the speed and duration of the adoption process. Insight Media suggests that global sales of 3D televisions will increase from 6.8 million units this year to over 31 million by 2012. This would represent approximately 13.6% of total television sales.
We are currently investigating the investment implications of this adoption curve. Current efforts are being been focused on the entire supply chain. Starting with the technology enablers including chip designers and systems providers. We are also looking at the content creators, exhibitors, and consumer electronics manufacturers.
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