NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN’s announcement that it will shut down its 3-D channel by the end of the year is the latest sign the format won’t revolutionize entertainment as the industry once hoped.
Troubling signs for 3-D have been on the horizon for the last year or so. ESPN 3D’s audience ratings were below The Nielsen Co.’s measurable threshold.
“The ESPN decision is a sign that the 3-D ecosystem is not healthy,” said Laura Martin, an analyst with investment banking firm Needham & Co.
The sports network said there weren’t enough viewers to make 3-D broadcasts worth it. It didn’t say exactly how many viewers it had, but the number was “extremely limited and not growing,” the network said.
Last year, an estimated 6 percent of TVs in the U.S. were able to show 3-D programming.
The lack of programming and the discomfort of having to wear special glasses could be contributing to the problem, said IHS analyst Sweta Dash.
ESPN 3D launched in 2010 as one of nine 3-D channels that followed the release of James Cameron’s blockbuster film “Avatar.” TV makers rushed to introduce 3-D sets as well. ESPN said at the time that it expected a “3-D tsunami” in the industry.
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