Heavyweight TV makers Panasonic and Sony have respectively secured exclusive 3D Blu-ray titles to be bundled with their 3D TV offerings in recent weeks, but industry experts are concerned that this may actually be detrimental to the growth of 3D TV acceptance among the public.
Avatar 3D, the 2009 blockbuster which opened the eyes of movie studios and TV manufacturers to the lucrativeness of 3D technology, is finally coming to Blu-ray in December this year. However, for an unknown period of time, the Avatar 3D Blu-ray disc will only be available exclusively to owners of Panasonic’s Viera 3D plasma TVs. New buyers of Panasonic 3D TV sets – be it the current VT20 series or the forthcoming GT20 range – and related hardware will receive the Avatar 3D BD disc as part of the purchased package. Existing Panasonic 3DTV owners are also expected to be granted access to this promotional offer, though the details about how this will take shape remain sketchy.
Not to be outdone, Sony also inked a deal with Walt Disney Studio Entertainment to secure exclusivity on Alice In Wonderland and Bolt 3D Blu-ray titles. According to the terms of the agreement, these 3D Blu-ray discs will only be made available for free to owners of Sony Bravia 3D TVs, and will not be sold as standalone titles through any retail outlets.
Such exclusivity agreements between TV manufacturers and film studios are not new. Samsung has an ongoing partnership with DreamWorks Studios, exclusively bundling the Monsters Vs Aliens 3D Blu-ray disc with the company’s 3D TV sets, with How To Train Your Dragon 3D and Shrek 4 (a.k.a. Shrek Forever After) soon to join the fray. In addition to Avatar 3D, Panasonic also holds a couple of 3D Blu-ray exclusives in the form of Coraline and Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs.
The motives behind these deals are not difficult to understand: TV makers wish to tempt potential buyers away from rival brands, while movie studios receive an instant and guaranteed return on their 3D investment. But given the already abject availability of 3D content, even consumers who are originally interested in purchasing a 3D TV may be put off when they see 3D Blu-ray titles being sewn up exclusively left, right and centre by TV makers, leaving only a handful available to buy in retail stores.