New York - Sean Bratches, ESPN and Disney sales and marketing executive VP vowed Tuesday to keep the "3D needle moving" as mounting new evidence indicates consumers are starting to warm up to 3DTV in the home.
During his keynote address at NewBay Media's "Connected TV and 3D" conference at the Roosevelt Hotel here Tuesday, Bratches issued a theme that would resonate throughout the morning when he said ESPN 3D is currently available to some 65 million homes, and is ahead of where ESPN HD was at a similar stage in its growth cycle. (NewBay Media is the parent company of TWICE)
Since kicking off with the 2010 FIFA World Cup last June, ESPN 3D has now aired 106 events in the format, baseball, boxing, X Games, football and basketball contests.
The night before the seminar, ESPN 3D aired its 106
live event when the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime during an NBA playoff thriller.
Looking ahead, Bratches said ESPN is planning 3D coverage of the NBA Finals, five boxing matches, MLB's Home Run Derby and a couple of soccer matches involving Real Madrid versus MLS teams in the "World Football Challenge" this July.
Bratches rallied the industries to unite behind the further growth and development of 3D technology, pointing to double-digit advances in consumer awareness and an expected fivefold increase in the number of 3D sets to be sold in 2011, helped along by dropping price points and the release of 33 3D theatrical releases this year.
Bratches further cited Insight Media research calling for 100 3D channels to be available globally by 2015.
Remaining obstacles for 3D, he said, include 40 percent of consumers who are confused by 3D technology, and 70 percent who are deterred by a perceived lack of available content.
and others continue to seek out methods to reduce production costs in order to ramp up the amount of 3D content.
"At ESPN, it's our intention to keep the needle moving," he said.
Concerning connected TV technologies Bratches said ESPN is at work on developing Internet TV content as well.
"At ESPN we are and have been technology agnostic. We serve all comers, whether its satellite, whether its telco, whether its cable, and we analyze new opportunities virtually every day," Bratches said. "We've always been on the forefront of new technologies. So with connected television or any new technology, we are always looking for new ways to fulfill our mission to serve sports fans and grow our business, and we try to do that better every single day."
Bratches said ESPN is currently testing a variety of connected TV systems for next-generation platform delivery, including the Samsung Next Level App.
"Sports fans can access in-depth information regarding the best events in sports and plants the news right there on a Samsung screen," he said.
Bratches cited ESPN research showing that threats of consumer cord-cutting as a result of connected TV services are overblown.
Net cord-cutting from multichannel video providers was less than one tenth of a percent, he said.
And for heavy sports fans, he added, cord-cutting is virtually non-existent.
Bratches said pointed to those he called "uncutters," who live in "two-cord homes."