High hopes have been raised many times before for 3D/holographic digital displays in the out-of-home market any yet many times those hopes were swiftly dashed.
Although the 3D/holographic digital out-of-home market is still in its infancy, some elements seem to be coming together for that market to come to some form of fruition, including: -
- significant technology improvements
- greater support by some industries, particularly the entertainment industry
- lower content costs for some systems
- clearer evidence that these systems can be impactful
Results from recent tests of Provision Interactive’s 3D holographic systems highlight the potential marketing impact of 3D/holographic systems in the digital out-of-home market.
For example, according to Curt Thornton, CEO of Provision, 3D ads on Provision’s system “generated a typical sales lift of 30-40% sales lift over a 90-day period” and “up to 91% sales lift with one brand” during a recent test at TGIF restaurants in Phoenix”
Customers in the test reported being “motivated or very motivated” to buy products shown in the 3D ads at those restaurants.
In addition, “61% of patrons viewing 3D ads on our system said they would recommend others view the ads” at TGIF restaurants in Phoenix participating in a recent test of the system.
Provision experienced similar results in a test it recently conducted at Fred Myer retail stores in Portland Oregon, with 3D ads on its system “generating sales lift as high as 43-47%” in those stores, reports Thornton.
The coupon redemption rate for coupons on the 3DEO system in the trial was 17%, compared with an average redemption rate of 1-1 ½% for coupon redemptions in the U.S., he claims.
A recent test Provision Interactive conducted with Unisys Japan also yielded a strong response. In that test, 3D adverts on Provision’s 3DEO system were “tied to distribution of coupons at or near the front door of the stores,” explains Thornton.
“The results of that trial were equal, and, in many cases, better” than the Portland and Phoenix tests mentioned above, he reports. Thornton maintains that Provision’s holographic system has a distinct advantage because of its greater cost-effectiveness compared with other systems.
Costs for the system runs from $3,000 to $10,000-$12,000, including the software platform, “depending on the quantity of units deployed, features, and options,” says Thornton.
Provision claims to have a capacity to produce content at a much lower cost than more traditional 3D systems. For example, it produces 30-second 3D ads from $200-$300 at the low end to $2,000 in comparison with the typical production costs of $10,000-20,000 for other systems, maintains Thornton.
He also notes that 3D holographic ads are “much cheaper” to produce than traditional TV ads. Critics have often dismissed 3D holographic technology as simply a fad in the past, but Thornton believes that position holds no weight today, as “the technology for 3D has finally come into the 21st century.”.
The strong commitment of the entertainment industry to 3D is helping propel the technology forward, he contends. He points out that “virtually every major studio has released 3D and 2D films,” a growing number of theaters are converting their screens to 3D, including Regal Entertainment, and “Sony will be soon introducing 3D TVs in the home market.”
One key hindrance to the success of 3D signage systems in the past was inferior content but according to Thornton, content quality will be the key element determining the success of 3D digital OOH systems, especially five years from now, after the initial novelty factor of 3D wears off.
He does warn against becoming “overly enamored with the technology.” Thornton acknowledges that 3D systems are in “their infancy,” and says that it typically takes 6-8 months now to achieve a return on investment for 3D systems, but predicts that ROI for those systems will be achieved in much shorter times as “3D becomes more mainstream and widely accepted.”
Mike Fisher, Convergence & New Technologies Consultant with Futuresource Consulting, takes a more cautious view of the near-term market for holographic digital out-of-home systems. He believes that market is at “a very early stage,” and that it will remain primarily a specialty “niche market for some time.”
Initially, he feels the market will be “entertainment-driven,” with a few retail applications added to the mix. Despite some notable differences, the likely development of the 3D auto-stereoscopic DOOH market has some key implications for the holographic DOOH market, he believes.
Fisher expects the 3D digital out-of-home market to be essentially a “niche, high-end market,” until 2012, when he believes it will gain significant momentum. At that time, “7% of B2B large format flat panels will be 3D,” and that percentage will jump to “30% by 2015,” he predicts.
Currently, the key applications for 3D digital signage are “entertainment-oriented,” installed in such locations as “casinos and museums;” and “brand positioning” content, which is displayed at such “high-traffic locations as airports and train stations,” says Fisher.
“As with the existing digital out of home market, a lack of industry-wide metrics for measuring viewers, and the complex supply chain for digital signage are sure to provide a barrier to growth for 3D deployments, especially in advertising/brand development applications,” he believes.
Fisher expects that “entertainment” applications of 3D digital signage “will gain the greatest traction” in the short term. In his view, the 3D content shortage will be ameliorated in the near future, with 3D content development “ramping up fast” during that period, and 3D content costs declining significantly in the near future, especially as the “consumer 3D market” grows, and the pool of trained 3D content developers increases.
The business-to-business 3D market will also gain momentum as a result of the introduction of 3D TVs in 2010, and greater production of 3D TV content in that period, says Fisher.
Interestingly, he believes that much of the “innovation” in 3D digital signage in the near term will come from “smaller digital signage content providers and networks.”