Asia: hotbed for 3-D, digi advertising

Digital Entertainment Forum discusses future of 3-D

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HONG KONG -- The future of 3-D cinema and advertising in the digital age were the central themes of the two panels on Wednesday that made up the Digital Entertainment Forum.

Asia was identified by panelists as the region having the biggest potential for growth in 3-D cinema, though this will be dependent on macro-economics conditions in the immediate future, experts said.

Eric Mika, publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, illustrated the growth of 3-D cinema from the release of “Chicken Little” in 2004 on 84 screens to the bow of “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” on 1,271 in February. Warner Bros.’ “Journey to the Center of the Earth” earned $20.9 million in 3-D in Asia alone, he said.

Michael Ellis, president of the Motion Picture Assn., pointed out that for recent movies that have been released in 2-D and 3-D versions, the revenue per screen has been considerably higher for the 3-D editions.

3-D is also a barrier to piracy, Ellis noted. “No one is going to walk into a movie theater with two video cameras and then digitize it,” he said.

Don Savant, managing director of Asia Pacific for Imax, detailed how the high-definition giant-screen specialist is enhancing its 3-D capabilities across its commercial theater network.

MasterImage Systems CEO Younghoon Lee described how the Korean company had partnered with a major Japanese mobile carrier, KDDI’s au, to develop a phone that plays 3-D content without the need for users to wear 3-D glasses.

The day’s second session, Digital Entertainment & Advertising -- What’s Next? featured Todd Miller of Sony Pictures Television International; Louise Kristensen, digital business director of TBWA; and Chau Chi Shing of FAT face productions.

Miller explained how Sony’s branded, interactive, multiplatform drama “Sofia’s Diary” had been localized for China’s market as “Sufie’s Diary,” with altered storylines and products.

“Ad-supported VOD is the future of online broadcasting, and half of those users, 750 million people, are in Asia,” he said.