The Korea Herald


3-D industry waiting for cue on adult content

By 김지현

Published : April 11, 2011 - 19:04

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The success of “Sex and Zen” is most likely to mark a watershed moment in the 3-D industry as the fate of adult movies seems to be hinging on the movie’s performance.

“It’s a matter of time, but we are in dire need of some concrete evidence to accept that 3-D adult entertainment will take off in earnest,” said Han Dong-hoon, a spokesperson for N’tree Media, an adult-image content provider.

“Sex and Zen” is the first adult film shot exclusively in 3-D with the help of Hollywood staff. The movie will hit local theaters in May.

The hype over “Sex and Zen,” has been quite measured in Korea where the wary domestic audience has already had their dose of unfulfilled anticipation after “Natalie,” the first home-made 3-D adult film released in October last year; the film was unsuccessful and quickly forgotten.

“The disappointing results of ‘Natalie’ made filmmakers and content providers think twice about the marketability of 3-D content, especially because until then, secretly everyone thought 3-D adult entertainment had it made,” said one employee at a local cable TV channel who declined to be identified.

She said the industry therefore needed to witness at least one success story to renew their courage and try their luck one more time.

Many hopes are being pinned on 3-D content after struggling television makers decided that they would try to turn over a new leaf this year by promoting their newest brainchild, 3-D smart TVs.

The 3-D TV market is expected to be worth $16 billion in the next decade.

However, the TV-makers hadn’t fully thought out how to secure the necessary content, which are exceedingly more expensive to make due to the technology and equipment involved.

Neither Samsung nor LG ― the world’s top two television makers ― has yet to dare to truly test the possibilities of 3-D adult movies despite that both experts and the audience seem to believe watching adult content would be the ultimate 3-D experience.

Surveys taken by Maxmobie, a local movie ticket reservation portal, last year showed that more than 70 percent of 2,900 male respondents wanted to try watching adult content in 3-D in theaters.

But so far, the research being done in some of the labs at the local manufacturers where researchers are testing the picture qualities of 3-D content with adult entertainment seems to be as far as they got.

Digital satellite broadcaster SkyLife says a lack of guidelines or legal boundaries for 3-D content seems to be one reason why 3-D adult movies have yet to take off.

“There’s really nothing to go by in terms of censorship,” one spokeswoman said.

Others say 3-D adult content is an accident waiting to happen, claiming it will be only a matter of time before demand grows explosively.

“Right now, it’s before take-off because we don’t have enough content, and distribution is also not the easiest thing,” Han of N’tree said, explaining this was why domestic players were mostly looking at foreign film or image makers to dole out their content.

Last year, adult entertainment giant Penthouse said it was planning to launch the world’s first 3-D porn channel in the second quarter of this year.

Some of their content would most likely permeate the local markets, one way or the other, industry watchers said.

By Kim Ji-hyun  (