Underbelly Gambles On 3D Tech, by Greg Tingle - 3rd May 2010

Underbelly is still super popular with national audiences, advertisers - sponsors and Gambling911 readers, despite getting killed (donut award - nil) at the Logies held at James Packer's Crown Casino last night.

Media Man and Gambling911 dig for dirt, er, information, as we go undercover and get embedded into Australia's 'Underbelly' landscape.

Such is the confidence show by 'Underbelly' producers and powers that be bean counters, they are to expand into 3D.

Mind you, going 3D is apparently easier said than done, with experts pointing to major challenges (tech and financial), as experienced with the James Bond and Iron-Man franchises. Iron-Man already has a happy ending as far as return on investment goes, but Bond has ended up on the scrap heap due to cash flow, if you believe the news media reports.

Nine Network Australia has ambitious plans to film the next 'Underbelly' series in 3D, hoping that it will help keep positive buzz, audiences and the bottom line looking good. Underbelly has already been heralded as one of the great Australian TV success stories, as far as drawing people in, fostering talent, getting top dollars from advertisers and catapulting Aussie's up on the international radar.

"It's helped employ 100s of Australians, if you count in the flow on factors", said a Media Man insider.

The tech revolution brought on by James Cameron's Avatar is already hitting the lounge room thanks in part to the launch of 3D TV sets! Network Nine boss David Gyngell (currently out of the country but in touch with casino king James Packer) says he is blown away by the potential.

"It's an amazing experience. Next year we can go out and shoot Underbelly in 3D," he told News Limited in "Sin City" (Sydney).

Gyng's positive energy, vision and deep pockets, sees Nine say they will carry Rugby League's 'State of Origin' clash in 3D on 26th May. It's forecast to cost the network $10 million to broadcast, and nine will be flying over tech from the United States to make it happen.

Underbelly continues to drive forward the crime genre, and not just on TV. Wires are reporting that at least 3 Australian crime shows are due to be released over the next 12 months, quite likely soon, such is the current appetite of Australian audiences.

Media Man visited Sydney's 'Sin City' Expo at the Justice & Police Museum this past weekend and it was totally packed. Audio visual highlights dominated, with punters been able to view rare documentary and film footage on Sydney's underworld history and there was plenty of gaming and gambling themes and info to be seen including Sydney's famous 33 club. Some old coin operated slot machines were only on display that you could even pull the handle on. One of the highlights was an unidentified man who kept complaining to our crew that the media was to blame for all the crime, violence and gambling on TV. Media Man pointed out that gambling and crime have been in the movies for a long time. When asked what his interest was in the expo the mystery man refused to answer the question, and left in a huff.

The Media Man crew also shot footage from the expo, some of contains rare and unique Australian casino and gambling content which is likely to hit YouTube within a week.

The rumor mill says that now not only are talks going on about an 'Underbelly' online and offline slot game, but also a board game. Loads of fun for the whole family... not sure, but it may depend on the type of family. Classification guidelines are being considered, as Australia looks to overhaul its gaming industry laws following the long awaited Productivity Commission report.

Australia was settled by convicts, many of whom enjoyed a punt n wager, depending upon what set of history books you tend to believe.

One things for sure... Underbelly has helped put Australia's long history with gambling and the underworld on the map, and the buzz doesn't look like its doing to die anytime soon.

Punters, know the odds, stay healthy, and have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

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