Prof. Duane Varan

Prof. Duane Varan

Professor Duane Varan is the Director of the Audience Labs at Murdoch University, which has developed a reputation as one of the world’s leading research centres exploring the future of television.

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3D TV more enjoyable and ads more effective

Professor Duane Varan’s research into 3D television has shown that viewers are more comfortable with the medium and enjoy it more than programming in high definition.

The most in-depth study on 3D TV to date was run by Dr. Varan, Professor of New Media and Executive Director of the Interactive Television Research Institute at Murdoch University for ESPN a leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company based in the US.

The research was conducted during ESPN’s coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the Disney Media and Ad Lab in Austin, Texas. The study compiled results from more than 1,000 testing sessions and 2,700 lab hours.

Prof. Varan’s research employed an experimental design approach including the use of perception analysers, eye gaze and electrodermal activity. The study focused on a multitude of topics including overall viewing enjoyment, fatigue and novelty effects, technology differences, production issues and advertising impact. Seven hundred different measures were used to analyse audience reaction and televisions from five different 3D manufacturers were tested.

Key findings:

3D TV ads can be more effective

  • In the Ad Lab viewers were shown the same ads in 2D and 3D. 3D ads produced significantly higher scores across all ad performance metrics.
  • The 3D ads maintained a higher level of arousal than the 2D counterpart.
  • Participants showed better recall of the ad in 3D.
  • Cued recall went from 68 per cent for 2D to 83 per cent for 3D.
  • On average, purchase intent increased from 49 per cent to 83 per cent.
  • Ad liking went from 67 per cent to 84 per cent.

Fans enjoy 3D

  • The results showed a higher level of viewer enjoyment, engagement with the telecast and a stronger sense of presence with the 3D telecasts.
  • Enjoyment increased from 65 per cent to 70 per cent in 3D while presence went from 42 per cent to 69 per cent.

No major differences for audiences between types of 3D glasses

  • With all things equal, there were no major differences between passive (viewing glasses not requiring a power source) and active (viewing glasses needing to be plugged into power) 3D TV sets upon overall impact.
  • Passive glasses were however rated as more comfortable and less distracting by participants.

Health effects of 3D viewing

  • The study found that there were no adverse effects on depth perception (stereopsis).
  • It appeared that there is an acclimation effect whereby participants adjust to 3D over time under normal use.

About the ESPN 3D Research Study

Conducted over the course of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, this was one of the most ambitious studies of 3D viewing to date. Participants were tested prior to, duringand after 3D viewing to garner a wide range of information and results. Testing was completed at the Disney Media & Advertising Lab, a facility developed to better understand the emotional drivers of audience behaviour and physiological reactions to advertising. The Ad Lab conducts year-round tests using the most advanced research techniques, including biometric measurement tolls to evaluate engagement and emotional responses.

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