Sony And Panasonic Exploring 3D HDTV Sales

Sony and Panasonic are showing off 3D HDTV and exploring purchase interest for the sets, reports NY Times.  Neither company has announced a price for the TVs.

Panasonic demonstrated a prototype 50-inch plasma set at Tokyo electronics show Ceatec, drawing gasps from crowds during 3D scenes from Disney’s Toy Story.   The company anticipates being able to price 3D sets to match current HDTV prices, and it claims that it s out to grow 3D HDTVs into half of of its total TV sales.  Sony is considering deploying the tech into Bravia TVs, Vaio notebooks, and even the PS3.

Research firm In-Stat has data showing that 64 percent of people are interested in 3D home viewing if the sets are the same price as standard HDTVs.  NY Times wonders whether the need for glasses estimated at $50 a pair might hinder buyers even if the sets are priced comparably.

Read more at NY Times.

Ad Age Viral Video Chart For Week Of Sept. 28

Abbey Klaassen’s weekly chart lists the top 10 viral videos from last week, with number of views for the week and percentage change in views for videos that stayed on the chart.  The list is compiled by Visible Measures.

Microsoft has to be happy about the continually impressive number of views garnered by its Project Natal video.  The video climbed to number two on this week s chart, drawing 35 percent more viewers than last week for a total 670,000 views for the week.  On the other hand, outside of the game division, Microsoft might be thinking when life gives you lemonade it could still come with lemons.  Right below Natal at number three is the atrocious Windows 7 Hosting Your Party video with more than 545,000 views for the week.

Given that this week s slate is made up of all repeat performers, Klaassen asks Visible Measures what the recipe is for such longevity.  The firm’s VP of marketing and analytics Matt Cutler believes that most of the videos are drawing repeat viewers, the only way they could sustain such high numbers.  He pinpoints where they succeed as nailing one or more of three key features that drive viral videos: whimsical feel good spots that provide an escape, content that raises questions such as “is it real?” and deep musical connection.

Check out the full list and watch the videos at Ad Age {link no longer active}.

‘Spore’ Ad Written By A Child

EA enlisted 12-year old Blake Simon to write the script for TV spots advertising Spore Hero.   The ads for the Wii game have begun airing in the UK.

There’s little word on whether this was the culmination of an EA Spore contest, fodder for a PR campaign, perhaps a cost-cutting move.  Brand Republic reports that Simon was brought on to rewrite the script for an existing TV ad.  Kudos to the kid, he delivers, a likely product of proper weaning on much game marketing and box copy.

Watch it at Brand Republic.

Leverage The Loop When Marketing Through Social Media

Adam Penenberg has a proposition for social media companies struggling to make money and marketers fighting to tap into the phenomenon they’ve created.  Find the most prolific users and treat them like partners, then let marketers loose on them and their vast network of friends.  Essentially, he is saying companies can monetize the viral expansion loop, the very mechanism of word-of-mouth and pass-along responsible for the growth of online networks.  Not only has he written a book about it called Viral Loop, he’s developed an app by the same name that puts a dollar value on prolific users and potential influencers on social media sites.

Penenberg sums up his argument in an article for Fast Company, discussing the impetus for his book and app.  Marketers have been getting it wrong by relying on conventional techniques on social sites, and the companies running these sites aren’t helping.  He draws a great analogy to how Google upended another so-called convention to become a multi-billion dollar company.  While Yahoo! and Microsoft stuck to conventional wisdom that search engines can’t be monetized, Google figured out the formula is incorporating advertising into the mechanism of what it provides.  Instead of selling banners, Google sold ads that appeared as returns on search queries.  Users saw the practice as enhancing the service Google provides.  Social media companies can help marketers by waking up to the fact that the value in their sites isn t just the audience they have amassed, it s the networking mechanism.

Read Penenberg’s piece at Fast Company.

Questioning The Premium Price Point For Console Games

David Thomas raises the ultimate question in an article for Crispy Gamer.  Who set the current price of games at $60   Thomas interviews EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich and Entertainment Consumer Association president Hal Halpin for insight.

Whether it s to cover growing development costs, reflect the high quality of current games, return more money on publisher investment, or all of the above, the math doesn’t add up for Thomas.  Not when for the same price inherent product value such as game play hours and production value varies greatly from game to game.

Read more at Crispy Gamer.

Ping Pachter Through Industry Gamers

As part of his regular column for Industry Gamers, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter is fielding reader questions.  If you have a burning question that can’t wait until the next time you can corner him at a conference, take a shot through “Pachter’s Podium. ”

Submit your question at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

‘Halo3: ODST’ Sells 2.5 Million Units, Says USA Today

Reporting for USA Today, Mike Snider says Halo3: ODST is estimated to have sold 2.5 million units and generated $125 million in its first two weeks of sales.  He calls the Halo IP one shaping up to rival Star Wars, giving a rundown of the property s licensing and merchandising efforts including Halo Legends anime coming out next year on video.

Frank O’Connor of 343 Industries, Microsoft’s Halo division, tells Snider that there is a six-year plan in place for the franchise.  He also says the Halo film is still on hold and waiting for the right partner.

Read more at USA Today {link no longer active}.

PSP Mini Games Priced At A Premium

Designed to bring iPhone style games and popular game apps to PSP, PSP mini games are proving to be much more expensive than their smart phone counterparts.  Reported by Joystiq, downloadable casual games for PSP are priced at two to three times what the same titles cost on iPhone.  A Sony representative explains that pricing is entirely up to publishers.

Read more at Joystiq.

Online Ad Spends Bottoming Out

A study conducted by eMarketer along with research data from a separate report released by Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers show considerable decline in online ad spends.  Reported by Adweek, IAB and PwC found that online ad revenue slid by 5.3 percent year over year in the first half of 2009.  One bright spot was a surprisingly low one percent decline in display ads.  There is general optimism that the slide will decelerate in the second half of the year as more ad budget is diverted to low-cost display and direct response tactics.

Read more at Adweek {link no longer active}.

Cat-Walking On The Wii Balance Board

Project Runway creator Weinstein Co. has partnered with Atari to develop video games based on the hit fashion industry reality show, reports Variety.  The move comes as Atari had been considering developing a fashion-based game and was looking to partner with an established brand.

The first Project Runway title is slated for Wii and will have game play centered on designing fashion for competition and modeling creations.  The modeling aspect is expected to make use of the Wii balance board.  Fashion mavens Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are reported to be involved in the project.

Read more at Variety.