Research: 3DTV purchase intent varies around the globe

While consumers cite a number of concerns that marketers and manufacturers will need to address before 3DTV gains widespread adoption, research from The Nielsen Company shows that there is a sizable opportunity to attract the eyeballs and investment of some of the world’s most affluent TV households.

In a survey of approximately 27,000 online consumers conducted in September across 53 countries, 13 per cent of respondents said they already own or ‘definitely will’ purchase a 3DTV set in the next 12 months. An additional 15 per cent of global online consumers said they ‘probably will’ purchase a 3DTV.

Not surprisingly, interest and intent to purchase is highest amongst consumers ages 21-34, and strongest in Asia Pacific, Latin America and MEAP (Middle East, Africa, Pakistan) markets. Consumer interest in Europe and the US still trails the rest of the world.

A separate foundational study conducted by Nielsen, in collaboration with the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketers (CTAM) and CBS Vision, dug deeper into the 3DTV viewing experience through both qualitative and quantitative research to get U.S. consumers’ first-hand reactions to 3DTV.

In the study, 12 groups and families were exposed to 30 minutes of 3DTV content in a traditional living room space in Sony’s 3D Experience Media Lab in MGM TVCity (Las Vegas). An additional 425 participants from around the country were also exposed to the same content in a more formal theater-style lab environment. The content included clips from a range of genres – nature, sports, comedy, a music concert, movies, and video games. After watching the 3DTV content reel, six in ten participants agreed that the content was better than their current 2DTV viewing, and nearly half (48 per cent) found it more engaging. They also stated that it made them feel like they were part of the action (57 per cent) and closer to the characters (48 per cent).

“Our research shows that, despite positive perceptions towards 3DTV programming, consumers are still hesitant to invest in 3DTV sets – opting to take a ‘wait and see’ approach,” said Frank Stagliano, EVP/GM of TV Primary Research for Nielsen. “Recent technology battles between plasma and LCD or blu-ray and HD DVDs have trained consumers to wait until widespread adoption is more likely. This drives down cost, making technology more affordable.”

Stagliano said some consumers are also deterred by the usability of the set and required glasses, fearing that 3D technology may inhibit TV as a relaxing medium. An all-3D network launching in early 2011 may make the “wow” factor more evident, and draw in more consumers.

For the technology to gain widespread adoption in the U.S. and abroad, marketers need to emphasise 3DTV viewing as complementary to the 2D experience. David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer of CBS Corporation and President of CBS Vision, said he is confident 3DTV is “just going to be a part of television” like cable and high definition. “No one has taken the really powerful TV dramas and made them with the eye toward 3D,” said Poltrack. “I think once that happens, you’re going to see regular television programming capturing [and] being enhanced by 3D, and people are going to watch special episodes of their favorite programs in 3D.”

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