ESPN said it will end operations of its 3D cable channel in the US by late this year, ESPN spokeswoman Katina Arnold told Reuters. ESPN 3D launched in 2010, presenting 3D broadcasts of college football games and the Masters golf tournament, among other offerings.
Despite declining costs for 3D televisions and widespread use of 3D in movies, consumers have not rushed to bring the technology into their homes.
ESPN 3D was commanding monthly fees on average of $2.79 per subscriber from cable and satellite operators this year, among the highest for a cable channel, according to SNL Kagan. Pay TV providers also pay $5.54 on average for the flagship ESPN network.
The network was carried by major operators such as DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Comcast in various programming packages.
“They were just too early,” SNL Kagan analyst Derek Baine told Reuters. “This technology is not ready for prime time.”
ESPN will continue to experiment with other technologies including Ultra High Definition for its programming on ESPN and its sister channels, Arnold told Reuters. “We are committing our 3D resources to other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates,” she said.
The network could return to 3D programming “if or when 3D does take off,” she added.