A major ESPN study of the impact of 3D programming
has found that the viewers preferred 3D games to 2D, and that 3D ads were more
effective than 2D versions. "All things being equal 3D worked better than 2D,"
said Professor Duane Varan, executive director and chief research officer of
the Disney Media & Advertising Lab in Austin Texas, who spearheaded the
Cued recall of ads improved from 68% for 2D ads to
83% for 3D and on average purchase intent increased from 49% to 83% for 3D
versions, Varan noted during a presentation of the results in New York City.
The study also found higher levels of viewer
enjoyment of the 3D games. Participants report that their enjoyment of the game
increased from 65% to 70% and that their feeling of being present in the game
increased from 42% to 69%.
ESPN is billing the study as one of the largest and
most comprehensive ever completed. It was carried out at Disney's Media &
Advertising Lab in Austin, Tex., during this year's 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Researchers conducted more than 1,000 testing sessions and collected data from
2,700 lab hours of participants watching live or nearly live games in 3D.
In general the study found that 3D was a
comfortable viewing experience for most participants. While some participants
reported headaches and eyestrain, these incidences were relatively minor
compared to their frequency in 2D viewing and the study showed no negative
health impacts, Varan explained.
More specifically, 3D viewing had no adverse impact
on depth perception and viewers also seemed to adjust to the technology over
time, causing the relatively minimal levels of discomfort and eye strain to
decrease over a five-day viewing period. Short breaks in the viewing also
seemed to help, Varan said.
The study also found no major difference between
passive and active 3D TV sets in terms of the overall impact of the
programming. However, participants rated passive glasses as more comfortable
and less distracting than the active glasses most manufacturers are currently
providing with their 3D capable sets.
Overall, Artie Bulgrin, senior VP of ESPN Research
+ Analytics said that "the result of this comprehensive research project
[confirmed] what we've said time and time again. Fans have a higher level of
enjoyment when watching 3D [and] for advertisers this study provides good news
on the level of fan engagement."
Bulgrin also noted that the study would help ESPN
improve the way it is producing 3D games and that it would provide advertisers
with insights in how to make their 3D ads more effective.
The study also looked at the effectiveness of content that has been
up-converted from 2D to 3D. Participants reported that they felt more present
in the game while watching up-converted content than with 2D content, with 52%
reporting feeling present in the up=converted 2D content versus 42% for the 2D
feed. But this level was still lower than the 69% percent level found for
native 3D productions.