Porn Stars in 3-D Lure Consumers to New Sony, Panasonic TVs * PDF
Written by Mariko Yasu and Maki Shiraki   

June 2 (Bloomberg) -- Porn star Mika Kayama is at the frontier of a push to develop videos and content in Japan that Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. need to lure customers for their new 3-D televisions.

Kayama and Yuma Asami, the top actresses of adult-movie maker S1 No.1Style, will star in the country’s first DVDs for the 3-D format TVs, providing content analyst Yuji Fujimori says can trigger the success of the new sets. Sales of adult videos in Japan were 108.6 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in 2009, according to Takashi Kadokura, an economist who runs Yokohama- based BRICs Research Institute. That represents about 30 percent of the overall video market in the nation, according to Kadokura.

“Adult videos will likely be an incentive for consumers to buy a 3-D TV,” said Fujimori, at Barclays Capital in Tokyo. “It’s worth paying attention to the move because it’s lack of content that’s hindering expansion.”

Closely-held S1 No.1Style will offer “3D X Mika Kayama” on June 7 and “3D X Yuma Asami,” Japan’s first pornographic titles in the new format, on June 19 to coincide with the release of Sony’s 3-D Bravia models, with more titles to follow this year, according to the producer, who uses the professional name of Sakon.



Sales Motivation

“I want to try it out,” said Satoshi Miyazaki, 33, who pays about 2,000 yen a month to watch adult cable channels. “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 U.S. and Europe later this summer, according to Yuki Shima, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman. Panasonic became the first major TV maker to sell high-definition 3-D sets in the U.S. in March and in Japan in April. Sharp Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. have said they plan to sell similar products.

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

Worldwide shipments of 3-D TVs are expected to be 4.2 million units this year and 12.9 million in 2011, according to California-based researcher iSuppli Corp. That compares with its projection of 170 million sets this year for all types of liquid-crystal-display TVs, the researcher said May 25.

‘Avatar’ Release

3-D movies, which first appeared in cinemas in the 1920s, gained a resurgence of popularity with the December release of News Corp.’s “Avatar,” the world’s top-grossing motion picture. Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co., the No. 1 TV maker globally, said last month it will work with “Avatar” director James Cameron to develop content to market its 3-D sets, which went on sale in the U.S. in March.

S1 No.1 Style, which releases about 25 DVDs a month, is offering 3-D titles at the same price of 2,980 yen as 2-D ones, Sakon said. Soft on Demand Co., a Tokyo-based adult-film company, plans to sell two 3-D titles on June 25 and more later this year, according to Tsuyoshi Fujimoto, a spokesman.

Local TV station Sky Perfect JSAT Corp. will join BS Broadcasting Corp. and Jupiter Telecommunications Co. in airing 3-D programs on June 19, according to the companies. Three 3-D PlayStation 3 games will be available when Sony starts selling 3-D Bravias, said Shima.

Soccer World Cup



Sony’s not aware of any announcement of 3-D titles that will be available on June 10 to coincide with the release of its new Bravia TVs, Shima said. The company’s film unit will offer “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” in 3-D Blu-ray in the summer, and the 2010 soccer World Cup games by the end of the year, she said.

Sony shares have risen 1.5 percent this year in Tokyo, while Panasonic has dropped 14 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average has declined 8.9 percent this year.

The 3-D TVs may help stem a decline in sales of adult movies in Japan, which have dropped about 15 percent since their peak in 2006 because of a prolonged recession and competition from free online pornography, said BRICs Research’s Kadokura. “3-D technology is just what the porn industry needed,” he said.

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.


Actors Moves

“It was a different filming experience using a new camera,” he said. “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.”

Tokyo-based Sony, which projects sales from 3-D products excluding content will reach 1 trillion yen in the year to March 2013, plans to sell Vaio personal computers that can show 3-D images before the end of the year, the company said in January.

Toshiya Shimizu, a 28-year old Tokyo resident, said he may wait for the cheaper 3-D computer.

“I want to rent the DVD first to see how good the image is,” he said. “I’d like to watch Yuma Asami in 3-D.”



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