DCS > Essays > 3D in Decline? by DCS President James Mathers, Excerpted from DCS eNewsletter of July 2013

3D in Decline? by DCS President James Mathers, Excerpted from DCS eNewsletter of July 2013

3D in Decline? The Percentage of Box Office is Down and TV Programers Are Pulling the Plug on 3D

Sad to say for 3D enthusiasts, but the latest wave of 3D seems to be losing steam, especially in regard to 3DTV. Although domestic box office returns were respectable, moviegoers largely passed on the opportunity to see "World War Z" and "Monsters University" in the extra dimension. In contrast, the previous lowest-grossing 3D action movie, "Captain America: The First Avenger," took 40 percent of its opening grosses from 3D.

Meanwhile China, which still shows an appetite for the format, has been losing global financial ground and the government there has increased restrictions on foreign made product which may cause studios to rethink their investment in 3D filmmaking.

In regard to TV, Broadcasters also seem to be backing away from 3D, at least for now. The BBC has announced they will no longer fund research or programming in 3D. They justify this with statistics showing that, for example, although 1.5 million British households have a 3D-equipped TV, only around half that number tuned in to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony in 3D last year.

Sports network ESPN also recently announced it will discontinue its 3D programming by the end of this year. In an official statement, ESPN said, “Due to limited viewer adoption of 3D services to the home, ESPN is discontinuing ESPN 3D. We are committing our 3D resources to other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates.”…(read 4K).

Despite the rise in 3D TV sales in 2012, only 115,000 American homes were actually using them to watch 3D stations, which is a number so small that it doesn't even register as a measurable data sample for Nielsen ratings. What is particularly sad about this news is that having to wear glasses was largely sighted as a reason consumers were reluctant to watch 3D, but technology allowing glasses-free 3D viewing is here. Now, however, it might not get a chance to be widely adopted if no one is providing 3D content. I’m not ready to count 3D out, but it has definitely suffered a few setbacks of late.