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Did Trade Media Purposely Hype 3D TV Study?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (May 25, 2011) -- The Digital Entertainment Group, the industry trade group whose mission is to promote CE products, such as 3D TVs, yesterday released a study saying that early 3D TV owners love 3D TV.

Considering DEG's reason for existing, the study's conclusions shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. But this is the technology business, which is often blessed with unchallenging, even worshipful coverage from the trade media assigned to cover it.

For instance, Multichannel News yesterday ran a story on the study with the headline, "3DTV Owners Ecstatic About Home Entertainment Experience." No where in the story did Multichannel News report that DEG represents 3D TV makers and other companies who stand to benefit from the sale of 3D TVs.

But Multichannel did lead its story with these two paragraphs:

When it comes to their 3D TV sets, owners of the equipment greatly enjoy their home viewing experience, rate the quality of picture extremely high, believe the upgrade was well worth the investment and don't even mind those glasses.

Those were among the key conclusions drawn from a new study polling some 3,065 3D-capable set owners that was commissioned by the DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the results for which were released here today at the NewBay Media Summit on "Connected TV and 3D: Delivering the Demand." NewBay Media is the parent of Multichannel News.

Hmm, the study was released at a 3D TV conference run by Multichannel's parent company. How sweet.

Twice Magazine published a similar story on the study with the headline, "DEG: 3D TVs Get Good Consumer Reviews." Again, no where in the article is it mentioned that DEG is in business to promote 3D TV, among other CE products. But Twice did mention that it, too, is owned by NewBay. Yes, the same NewBay who's running that 3D conference.

Yes, a conference that stands to benefit by promoting 3D TV.

Do you see a theme here? Two major trade media outlets wrote highly positive stories about a 3D study commissioned by an organization whose goal is to promote 3D TV, but they never mentioned that fact in the articles. But they did acknowledge that their parent company is running a 3D TV conference, which, of course, will benefit from the promotion of 3D TV.

Is this journalism?

Now, I'm sure that the trade publications, or DEG, will point out that DEG commissioned the research firm SmithGeiger to do the study. But let me point out that SmithGeiger's business is based largely on winning over clients in the TV industry. This is from SmithGeiger's web site:

Thirty-seven of the top fifty-five television markets are influenced by our counsel, several of the biggest names in cable and satellite television are SmithGeiger clients, and the most important companies in consumer technology and multimedia entertainment look to us for insight and expertise in building and maintaining their brands & products."

(And let me also point out that it's not difficult to commission a study that's designed to achieve certain results, particularly if the research company is cooperative. And most of them are; that's what they are in business for.

It's all in how you phrase the questions; phrase the questions just right and you can get a study that says Coke people love Pepsi. I'm sure SmithGeiger does a great job with research studies, but it should release the 3D study questions, and the methodology, and let everyone decide for themselves.)

This little incident is yet another example of how consumers are being ill-served by the media at large and tech journalists in particular.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

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