BSkyB Stays 3D Course

LONDON — BSkyB is at 500,000 3D viewers, according to John Cassy, director of Sky 3D.

“And as of last week more than half a million Sky TV customers had signed up to watch 3D from Sky, bringing to a close our strongest quarter of growth to date,” Cassy said on Sky’s corporate blog site (opens in new tab).

Cassy weighed in following the announcement that ESPN would shutter its 3D channel at the end of this year. The Disney-owned sports franchise said the level of interest necessary to maintain the network hasn’t materialized. ESPN 3D was launched in June of 2010 to coincide with the FIFA World Cup.

The BBC has likewise announced its retreat from 3D, the Radio Timesreports.

Cassy goes on to say that there have been challenges on the road to 3DTV.

“The market isn’t quite where some people had hoped it would be by now,” he said.

There was speculation in the professional video industry when 3DTVs were introduced in 2010 that the format was being rolled out half-baked. Stereoscopic sets required viewers to wear shutter glasses and sit in a sweet spot to see the glory of 3D. The glasses naturally tend to darken the screen, as well.

Cassy cops to all, but says Sky offers 3D at no additional cost.

“This is because—unlike some other providers of 3D programming in the U.K. or U.S.—we are a platform operator as well as a content producer,” he said. “This means that a significant proportion of the value of providing great TV in 3D lies in how it helps attract new customers to join Sky, and in how it provides another reason for existing customers to stay with Sky.“

Cassy also said Sky’s 3D viewers are among the provider’s “most satisfied.”

Sky recognizes that 3D isn’t for “everyday viewing,” but rather more suited for “big events,” he said. Sky is further encouraged by conversations with TV manufacturers who say affordable glasses-free TV is two to four years away.

June 12, 2013,
Au Revoir, ESPN 3D
The stereoscopic channel, launched in 2010, is being pulled “due to limited viewer adoption,” a spokeswoman said.