Sex will sell 3-D television sets

2010-06-07 09:05

 Porn star Mika Kayama is at the fore of a thrust to develop content in Japan that electronics manufacturers Sony and ­Panasonic need to lure customers for their new 3-D ­television sets.

Kayama and Yuma Asami, the top ­actors of adult movie-maker, S1 No.1 Style, will star in the country’s first DVDs for the 3-D format – providing content that ­analyst Yuji Fujimori said can ­trigger the success of the new sets.

Sales of adult videos in Japan were ¥108.6 billion (R9 billion) last year, ­according to Takashi Kadokura, an economist who runs research firm BRIC Research Institute. ­According to him, that ­represents about 30% of Japan’s overall ­video market.

Fujimori said: “Adult videos will ­likely be an incentive for consumers to buy a 3-D television set. It’s worth paying ­attention to the move because it is the lack of content that’s hindering ­expansion.”

According to S1 No.1 Style’s producer, Sakon, the firm would ­offer 3-D X Mika Kayama tomorrow and on June 19 ­3-D X ­Yuma Asami, Japan’s first pornographic titles in the new ­format.

The June 19 debut would coincide with the release of Sony’s 3-D Bravia models, with more titles to follow this year.

Satoshi Miyazaki (33), who pays about ¥2000 a month to watch adult cable channels, said enthusiastically: “I want to try it out. I need something dramatic to justify replacing my TV. This could be the motivation.”

Sony, the world’s third-largest ­TV-maker, plans to offer 3-D Bravia TVs in Japan from June 10 and in the US and ­Europe later this year, according to ­spokesperson Yuki Shima.

Panasonic became the first major ­TV-maker to sell HD 3-D sets in the US and Japan in March and April ­respectively. Other manufacturers Sharp and Mitsubishi have said they also plan to sell similar products.

Sony’s Shima and Panasonic ­spokesperson Akira Kadota declined to comment on whether 3-D adult movies would boost sales of the new TVs.

According to iSuppli, an independent researcher, worldwide shipments of 3-D TVs were ­expected to reach 4.2 million units this year and 12.9 million next year.

3-D movies, which first appeared in cinemas in the 1920s, gained a ­resurgence in popularity with the ­December release of News Corp’s Avatar­, the world’s top-grossing movie of all time.

Samsung, the leading TV-maker ­globally, said last month it would work with the film’s director, James Cameron, to develop content to market its 3-D sets, which went on sale in the US in March.

S1 No.1 Style, which releases about 25 DVDs a month, was offering 3-D titles at the same price as 2-D ones (¥2 980), ­Sakon said.

Soft on Demand, another adult film ­company, planned to sell two 3-D titles on June 25 and more later this year, ­according to spokesperson Tsuyoshi ­Fujimoto.

Shima said that three 3-D PlayStation 3 games would be available when Sony started selling 3-D Bravias.

But she said that Sony was not aware of any ­announcement of 3-D titles that would be available on June 10 to coincide with the release of its new Bravia TVs.

According to Shima, the company’s film unit would offer Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in 3-D Blu-ray in the ­summer and the 2010 Fifa World Cup games by the end of the year.

The 3-D TVs might help stem a decline in sales of adult movies in Japan, which have dropped by about 15% since their peak in 2006 because of a prolonged ­recession and competition from free ­online pornography, prompting BRIC’s ­Kadokura to say: “3-D technology is just what the porn industry needed.”

S1 No.1 Style spent three months ­making its first 3-D films, triple the time for a normal production, said ­29-year-old Sakon.

“It was a different filming experience using a new camera. Actors needed to move more slowly, furniture had to be ­relocated and lighting rearranged to make it work. But it was worth it. We’ll make a profit out of this,” he said.

Sony, which projected sales from 3-D products excluding content would reach ¥1 trillion in the financial year ending March 2013, planned to sell Vaio personal computers that could show 3-D images before the end of the year.

Toshiya Shimizu, a 28-year-old Tokyo resident, said he might wait for the ­cheaper 3-D computer: “I want to rent the DVD first to see how good the image is. I’d like to watch Yuma Asami in 3-D.”

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