AT&T Drops ESPN 3D Channel2 Aug, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Decision underscores challenges selling consumers on 3DTV, eyewear and scant content selections
AT&T has dumped ESPN 3D — the year-old, first-ever 3D sports channel launched last summer by Disney-owned ESPN — from its subscription-based U-verse fiber-optic network.
AT&T (along with Comcast and DirecTV) offered ESPN 3D upon its launch last summer for the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa. Unlike the cable and satellite TV operators, AT&T charged subscribers an additional $10 per month for the channel.
While considered the final frontier for high-definition home entertainment, sales of 3DTVs continue to be hampered by high unit costs, requisite pricey glasses and a dearth of content, including 3D Blu-ray movies.
AT&T cited the cost of the service and low consumer demand as contributors to the decision, which took effect July 31. It said it remained committed to 3D programming going forward, pending consumer response and related costs.
“We continue to add new channels and content that our customers want,” AT&T said in a statement. “The price tag for ESPN 3D was too high, especially considering the low demand we’ve seen from customers. We’ve decided not to renew our agreement for ESPN 3D. For our customers who subscribe to the U-verse 3D Technology package, it will be automatically removed from their bills and any charges after the channel has been removed will be credited.”
AT&T said it would still offer 3D titles in its U-verse movies library, and would continue to explore 3D as more customers purchase 3DTVs and demand increases.