Is the 3D boom over, again? In 2009, with the release of James Cameron’s Avatar, 3D technology was, for what felt like the fourteenth or fifteenth time since the 1950’s, the story of the future.
That year, Montreal’s Sensio (TSXV:SIO) was a Canadian market darling. After closing 2008 with a stock that went for little more than a dime, Sensio ended 2009 at $3.18. The story behind the rise? Late in the summer of 2009 the company received a US patent for its 3-D technology. The patent was very wide-ranging, giving Sensio “…exclusive operating rights over its whole method of compression, decompression, formatting and playback of stereoscopic content for various 2-D and 3-D screens, and applies to the markets for home theatre, professional movie theatres, personal computing and mobile telephony”.
Sensio then went on to make deals, signing agreements with ViewSonic, THX and a deal with Cinedigm to broadcast the 2010 FIFA World Cup final in 3-D in Cinedigm theatres.
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Flash forward to 2011, where the recurring promise of 3D seemed to fizzle once again. By mid-year, many were reporting that sales of 3D TV’s were on the wain.
Movie industry veteran Jefferey Katzenbeg, talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the “heartbreaking decline” of 3D.
“3D is right smack in the middle of its terrible twos,” he said “We have disappointed our audience multiple times now, and because of that I think there is genuine distrust, whereas a year and a half ago, there was genuine excitement, enthusiasm and reward for the first group of 3D films that actually delivered a quality experience.”
Shares of Sensio, meanwhile, weren’t faring much better. In the face of continued losses and meager revenue, the company’s share price went back to where it began, closing 2011 at $.32 cents.
But will Sensio’s considerable intellectual property assets save the day for the company? Today, Sensio announced it had “signed a licence agreement for the integration of SENSIO Hi-Fi 3-D into SoCs destined for 3-D televisions with an important semiconductor manufacturer, that asked to remain anonymous for competitive reasons.”
This comes on the heels of the news that semiconductor manufacturer Marvell, which ships more than a billion chips a year, will begin to incorporate Sensio’s high-fidelity 3-D technology into its digital television offerings.
CEO Nicholas Routhier, for one, is putting 2011 behind him. In a press release late in the year, Routhier suggested all Sensio’s hard work may pay off in the coming year.
“There is no doubt in our minds that 2012 will mark the true beginning of 3-D in this market, with more content, better products and smarter industry marketing. The investments that we are making today in building our various lines of business should pay off in the months and years to come. We remain extremely confident about the future of 3-D and are totally committed to bringing the best 3-D experience to homes.” he said.
Share of Sensio closed today up 32.4% to $.45 cents.