The buzz about 3D has quieted lately, but consumer spending on 3D content has been growing regardless. IHS Screen Digest today released findings from a recent report, saying the market is “thriving” in theaters, home video, and video-on-demand.


The number of 3D-capable theater screens has quadrupled in the last three years, from 9,000 in 2009 to 43,000 in the third quarter of this year. Box office receipts for 3D features are up double digits in 2012 over 2011, from $6 billion to $7 billion. That tally was enough for 3D films to account for 22 percent of the global box office total last year.

US spending on 3D Blu-rays has nearly doubled in 2012, up 94 percent to $220 million. The research firm called that an especially encouraging sign as it bucks the trend of slumping sales for films on physical formats, and also noted that it is expected to continue growing until 2016.

According to IHS Screen Digest, the number of 3D TV channels is on the rise worldwide, although growth in the market has slowed. 3D video-on-demand is expected to do well in the coming years, with IHS Screen Digest expecting it to increase from $11.1 million in 2012 to $76.1 million in 2016.

“In an age where consumers have at their easy disposal a virtual treasure trove of entertainment options to draw from, the encouraging growth of the 3-D medium is remarkable to behold,” said Tony Gunnarsson, analyst for video at IHS Screen Digest. “The continuing expansion of the industry is especially significant when one considers that 3-D is but a small niche of overall digital viewing, and that consumers have to shell out considerably more money for 3-D products, which are priced at a premium and not necessarily an easy sell in these economically uncertain times.”