70,000 Signed Up for Sky 3D Since Oct. 1

LONDON: BSkyB has 70,000 3DTV subscribers, the U.K. satellite TV provider said this week. Sky 3D was launched Oct. 1, 2010, and has exceeded early expectations. At launch, Sky said it expected to have between 50,000 and 200,000 subscribers by mid-2011.

“Around half of all 3D TVs sold so far in the U.K. are connected to Sky 3D, with thousands more joining every week,” said Sky 3D’s John Cassy in the company’s flackage. “Since the launch on the 1st October we have had a number of world firsts--with the world TV premieres of ‘Avatar,’ ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the ‘Toy Story’ trilogy.

On deck is the franchise’s 100th live 3D sports broadcast, a stereoscopic performance by Diversity, some Sir David Attenborough docs and a broadcast of ENO’s new production of Donizetti’s “Lucrezia Borgia,” to be the first opera broadcast in 3D on Feb. 23. (See “BSkyB Prepares First 3D Opera Broadcast.”)

BSkyB was the first multichannel TV provider to successfully transmit live 3DTV across its hi-def infrastructure in April 2009. It did a soft launch to around 1,500 pubs across the United Kingdom in anticipation of last summer’s FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. It publicized its plan to fully deploy 3DTV Oct. 1, prodding rival provider Virgin Media to launch 3D out of the blue on Sept. 28, 2010.

Sky has around 2.9 million HD subscribers, all of whom could get the 3DTV service. Panasonic sponsored the service, similarly to its support of DirecTV’s 3D channels in the United States. DirecTV launched three, 3D channels in the United States last July 1.
-- Deborah D. McAdams