Sony is facing a 3D TV marketing disaster if Australia does not win their FIFA World Cup game on Sunday while the 3D coverage of the State Of Origin is already dead and gone as a drawcard for 3D.
The Japanese Company, that is globally spending close to a billion dollars trying to resurrect their struggling Sony Bravia TV brand off the back of the hype associated with the World Cup, has limited 3D TV stock and their investment in Socceroos player, Tim Cahill, is looking very flaky due to his red card sending off in the Germany vs. Australia game.
Desperate to outdo Samsung, who benefitted from the hype associated with the 3D coverage of the first State Of Origin match between Queensland and New South Wales, Sony has invested heavily in both the World Cup in South Africa and SBS’s 3D coverage of 15 World Cup games.
But is it all worth it?
Sony has a lot to lose if Australia is kicked out of the World Cup. Not only will Sony be associated with a losing team whose strategy appears to be all over the place, but Australians, with the exception of a few die hard soccer fans, will simply turn off watching the event as the SBS ratings show. While the opening Australia vs. Germany game had an audience of 1.4 million viewers the 3D channel had little audience, for other games not involving Australia.
The bigger problem is the temporary nature of 3D. Broadcasters like SBS and Channel Nine are currently operating on a temporary spectrum allocated by the Federal Government and while the World Cup 3D coverage has been excellent due to the use of more cameras and better technology, the Harvey Norman Channel Nine coverage of the State Of Origin series has been very average and I believe this has impacted the consumer expectation of what 3D TV is all about.
So what’s next? Currently there are no big 3D sporting events planned and there is very limited 3D content available. By Xmas we will see a lot of new movies and brands like Panasonic and Toshiba in the market selling a new generation of 3D plasma TVs, and Toshiba will sell their new Cell TV which delivers 3D content without the need for 3D glasses. It also up scales 2D to 3D on the fly while allowing a user to record up to eight HD channels at once.
Then there is the issue of standards with almost every vendor selling a totally different and incompatible standard. Another big issue that retailers have to tackle is the misconception that 3D is a standalone TV that only delivers a 3D image when, in reality, all 3D TVs deliver 2D TV, are Full HD and are capable of delivering Internet based content.
If 3D goes pear shaped and consumers switch off from the concept of investing in a 3D TV it could well slow down sales of flat panel TVs period.
Harvey Norman, as Harvey Norman do, have gone and created a lot of 3D hype but unfortunately, what they hyped has become a bit of a fizzer, after the NSW Blues were hammered by Queensland, and not many people in NSW are going to be keen to watch the final game in the series.
What I believe Australia needs is a 3D steering committee that is made up of all 3D TV vendors as well as content providers, TV stations and retailers. Their primary goal should be to educate, inform and work towards delivering a great 3D experience for consumers while delivering a single clear message that is based on a high quality experience.
Small 3D TVs do not deliver a good experience, as Samsung is finding out, while 3D DLP projectors are cable of delivering a big 3D experience.
Hype, spin and big 3D images attract attention but at the end of the day consumers want an ongoing 3D experience and that is not happening right now.