SBD/March 8, 2011/Media

Erhardt Discusses ESPN 3D's Move To A 24/7 Programming Schedule

Erhardt says ESPN wants to be an advocate for advertising in 3D
ESPN President of Customer Marketing & Sales Ed Erhardt participated in a Q&A with CABLEFAX DAILY's Cathy Applefeld Olson to discuss the net moving its "nascent 3D network to a 24/7 programming schedule." The following are excerpts from the Q&A:

Q: Why does it make sense for ESPN 3D to go 24/7 now?
Erhardt: We want to be advocates for 3D advertising as part of the 3D marketplace and the 3D experience.

Q: What's the proposition for advertisers?
Erhardt: We are providing a unique feed for 3D commercials, so if you're wearing your glasses and watching the programming, you are going to see them.

Q: At this juncture, what's either enticing advertisers or causing them to wait on the sidelines?
Erhardt: There is a cost factor, and a usage factor most important. Advertisers want scale. And at the moment 3D distribution -- and 3D sets and 3D content -- need to scale up. If you think about the advertisers currently doing spots in 3D, it's the movie studios that are using their content in 3D, and the set makers -- the Samsungs, Sonys and Panasonics -- have 3D spots because it's in their vested interest. And then there are some advertisers that are cutting-edge and want their brands to be seen as cutting edge. Mercedes has taken an aggressive stance in this regard (CABLEFAX DAILY, 3/8).

PAYING THE PRICE: CABLEFAX DAILY reports some cable and satellite companies may begin charging subscribers "a premium for 3D programming." Comcast "isn't yet charging a premium for Xfinity 3D and ESPN 3D," but Comcast VP/Video Services Jay Kreiling said that company execs "have discussed the possibility of packaging 3D content on a premium tier." A Time Warner Cable spokesperson declined to comment on "how the addition of new 3D channels to its lineup could impact 3D Pass pricing" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 3/8).

TO THE BIG SCREEN: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Carolyn Giardina reported Sony and the All England Lawn Tennis Club yesterday officially announced a "multiyear partnership to bring Wimbledon to 3D-ready digital cinemas around the world." The live 3D production, "in partnership with Wimbledon host broadcaster BBC, also will be offered to broadcasters." Coverage "will include the men's singles semifinals and finals and the women's singles finals" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 3/7). DAILY VARIETY's Mark Schilling noted Sony is partnering with the BBC, "which takes the lead role in the Wimbledon broadcasts, and SuperVision Media, a sports and entertainment content provider to theaters." Details, "including global partners and number of theaters, have yet to be revealed" (VARIETY.com, 3/7).
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