Why 3-D TV Has Been an Epic Failure

If ESPN can't make 3-D TV work no one can. That's why ESPN's announcement that it would drop 3-D later this year is such a big deal. The company, which is owned by Disney, was one of the first to invest in 3-D, and is one of the first to throw in the towel, as well.  

High hopes gone awry
3-D televisions made a big splash at the 2010 CES show, and both manufacturers and investors had high hopes for the industry. About 3.2 million 3-D TVs were sold in 2010, and in early 2011, DisplaySearch projected that over 90 million 3-D TVs would be sold in 2014. 

No doubt there are a lot of 3-D TVs in living rooms around the world, but customers don't seem keen on paying for 3-D content to go along with them.


The interesting channel to watch now that ESPN is out of 3-D will be the fate of 3net, a partnership between IMAX, Sony, and Discovery. The channel was built to be focused on 3-D, and recently launched a production arm to create 3-D and 4K content. Presumably, the loss of ESPN will hurt demand for other 3-D channels like 3net, and it will be interesting to see what the fate of this venture is. 

What does this mean for the big screen?
It's not only the small screen where 3-D has struggled. The big screen saw an explosion of 3-D content after the success of Avatar in 2010, as IMAX and RealD expanded their offerings. But, since then, the industry has been more selective about how it uses 3-D. Batman director Christopher Nolan shunned 3-D, and hits like The Hunger Games and Skyfall weren't made in 3-D, meaning just one of last year's top four films were 3-D. 

You can see below that the decline of 3-D has had a huge impact on RealD's revenue and income.

RLD Revenue TTM Chart

RLD Revenue TTM data by YCharts

The company was counting on 3-D TV technology to grow revenue, as well, so the loss of ESPN is another blow for RealD. 

Foolish bottom line
3-D won't die completely, but it's apparent that it's hit a major wall right now. Consumers aren't willing to pay for 3-D TV, and the format isn't a huge success on the big screen right now, either. The huge projections people made about 3-D adoption appear to be completely wrong and, right now, this looks like an epic failure.

More on ESPN owner Disney

It's easy to forget that Walt Disney is more than just the House of Mouse. True, Disney amusement parks around the world hosted more than 121 million guests in 2011. But from its vast catalog of characters to its monster collection of media networks, much of Disney's allure for investors lies in its diversity, and The Motley Fool's premium research report lays out the case for investing in Disney today. This report includes the key items investors must watch, as well as the opportunities and threats the company faces going forward. So don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.

 

The article Why 3-D TV Has Been an Epic Failure originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Imax and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Imax and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

What are Penny Stocks

The lucrative and dangerous world of penny stocks.

View Course »

Forex for Beginners

Learn about trading currencies and foreign exchange transactions

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum