Bryan Burns, VP of Strategic Business Planning, shared the following thoughts on the state of 3D television as part of his introductory remarks for the ESPN 3D Research event today in New York:
Two days ago at the Blu-con conference in Los Angeles, James Cameron, who produced Avatar in 3D and just announced Avatar 2 and 3 would be produced in 3D, said “3D is a renaissance that will be fueled not by movies, but by live sports, music and comedy.” Interesting. He went on to say, “the launch of HDTV wasn’t a flirtation, it’s now pretty ubiquitous, and 3D will be the same.” He also said, “I hate golf, but things like The Masters golf will woo mass audiences.” ESPN, of course, produced The Masters in 3D last spring.
With ESPN 3D, we’re right where we thought we would be. In the last week we have announced the addition of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, and announced the carriage of 16 college basketball games which include marquis teams like Kansas, Michigan State, Syracuse, Memphis and Notre Dame. We hope you have seen some of what we have done. It’s truly groundbreaking.
With HD seven years ago, we said we would do 100 events in the first year. Last January 5th, with 3D, we said the very same thing, and our preliminary planning, not all of which has been announced, is tracking right toward the high 90’s.
We air our 38th 3D telecast this Saturday, when we show second ranked Boise State. The quality of our college football schedule has been nothing short of spectacular. We’ve showed top ranked teams including Oregon and Ohio State, and have showed important games that are having real impact on the post season. By the end of this month, we will have produced a dozen college basketball games and more college football as we head to the Christmas, when half of the televisions sold in the United States each year are purchased in the holiday selling season. Now’s the time, and we know that.
We have 62.5M “available to” households, which is the number of ESPN households covered by the distributors with which we have ESPN 3D under contract. This is way, way ahead of where we were with HD at a comparable date in 2003.
We’re on course. Just as planned. We’re very pleased.
15 years ago I walked in the door here at ESPN and on the same day another fellow arrived at the same time. He’s had a big impact on our company over the years, and he has big impact here every day, as he has become from our perspective the preeminent executive in his field. We don’t do a lot at ESPN without checking in with Artie. We’re all about serving sports fans, at our core it is what we do. And when we need to know how sports fans think about something, or how they are reacting to what we’re doing in some area, he gets the call. He’s become an extremely important and valuable member of our executive team, and he’s here today to tell you about an exciting effort we undertook last summer as we rolled out ESPN 3D from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Please say hello to ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Research and Analytics, Mr. Artie Bulgrin…