While National Geographic Channel (NGC) is looking at moving into the 3D arena, a spokesperson for the cable net says ‘no firm plans’ have been set for a fully-fledged Nat Geo 3D channel.
‘NGC U.S. has been exploring options in the 3D arena, and has been making preliminary inquiries of experienced producers, but have no firm plans at this time to launch a network dedicated to the format,’ said the spokesperson via a statement. ‘Spectacular visuals are core to our brand, and NGC HD has been the #1 network consumers want in HD for the last six years running, so it makes sense for us to also give consideration to 3D to the extent it makes sense for our business and distributors.’ A spokesperson for National Geographic Channels International said the same held true for NGCI.
A report in UK-based trade C21 today stated that Nat Geo would be establishing its own 3D channel, possibly as soon as next year. That timing would put it in direct competition with the upcoming 24/7 3D channel on the way from Discovery Communications, Sony Corporation and IMAX. The joint venture between the three companies was announced in January of this year, and Discovery Communications had 3D content on display during MIPTV.
3D channels are also on the way from ESPN (set to launch in time for the World Cup this June) and DirecTV plans to carry that channel as well as offer three other 3D offerings through a strategic relationship with Panasonic: N3D (which will carry content from a variety of providers), a 3D pay-per-view channel and a 3D on demand channel. The ESPN 3D channel has also just signed a carriage deal with Comcast, making it available to Comcast’s digital cable subscribers. BSkyB launched Europe’s first dedicated 3D channel, Sky 3D, in April, with the airing of a soccer match between Manchester United and Chelsea in over 1,000 pubs in the UK and Ireland.