With two major electronics manufacturers, Sony and Panasonic, launching their 3D televisions here in Canada this week, a familiar story is starting to percolate: that porn is fueling the new technology.
According to a Bloomberg story, adult content is quickly filling the void (ahem) that 3D TV makers are facing. “Adult videos will likely be an incentive for consumers to buy a 3D TV,” a Barclays Capital analyst in Tokyo told the wire service. “It’s worth paying attention to the move because it’s lack of content that’s hindering expansion.”
We haven’t seen any hard (ahem) numbers yet, and because this is porn we’re dealing with, we are unlikely to ever see them, so we only have logic and past experiences to go on. The VCR is a well-cited example of what’s likely going on now. In the early 1980s, when Hollywood studios were busy suing the likes of Sony because they were worried that the new technology would spread piracy, there was a dearth of content for people interested in the VCR. The studios released movies in dribs and drabs so there wasn’t much for the videophile to choose from. Porn companies were only to happen to provide, so films such as Debbie Does Dallas and Behind the Green Door found themselves atop (ahem) rentals lists for months, if not years, at a time.
With 3D, it’s not a case of the studios worrying about the technology - it’s just that they’re not producing quality content at a quick enough pace. Sure, if you like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Monsters Versus Aliens or a host of other animated movies, 3D TV is for you. But for fans of real films, there’s virtually zip out there.
I had a conversation the other day with my colleague Eli Glasner, who does film reviews for the CBC, and we agreed that so far, 3D films are nothing but a gimmick. Avatar was perhaps the only movie that really used 3D effectively and made it part of the story and experience, largely because it was incorporated into every step of the production. But pretty much every other live-action film has tacked on 3D in post production as a simple gimmick in an effort to sell more tickets (or get people to pay more for their ticket). Eli said as much when Clash of the Titans came out, while I came to the same realization while watching the latest Shrek movie the other week. At several points during the movie, I took off my glasses and thought, “Hmmm, nothing’s different, so what’s the point?”
Getting back to the Bloomberg story, Japanese porn companies see the lack of content as an opportunity and are gearing up for it. Producer S1 No.1 Style (love the name!) has two 3D movies ready to go, helmed by its two biggest stars, Mika Kayama and Yuma Asami. The company said it took three months to make the movies, or about triple the time it normally takes. That would make Sakon, the producer, the James Cameron of porn.
Adult entertainment aficionados are getting giddy with anticipation: “I need something dramatic to justify replacing my TV. This could be the motivation,” said one potential buyer.
Sony, Panasonic and the others must be quietly happy this is happening. It’s too early for any sales numbers yet, but judging from what I’ve heard from readers and potential buyers, 3D really isn’t a selling point for anyone but the hard-core (ahem) gadget nerds who simply must have the newest stuff. Porn may just provide enough content to keep TV sales alive while Hollywood studios get up to speed with producing Avatar-calibre 3D films, if they ever do.
My suspicion, ever since 3D TVs made their big splash at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas back in January, is that 3D won’t be a major selling point for televisions for very long. I imagine that in a year two, regardless of the porn industry’s influence or not, 3D will be a standard feature of all TVs and manufacturers will be back to battling each other on things like screen size and thinness.
And my apologies for all the innuendos above. Sometimes it’s difficult to resist.