Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 703-505-3064.
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For instance, recall how DIRECTV exited its 'Home Premiere' partnership with the studios which promoted Video on Demand films for the outrageous price of $30 each. Seeing that few subscribers were willing to pay $30 for a single viewing of a VOD movie, DIRECTV simply stopped showing them. The company didn't issue a press release saying the idea had failed; they just stopped it without telling anyone.
This approach to failure was on display again last week when Consumer Reports discovered that DIRECTV had turned its once much-ballyhooed 3D TV channel, n3D, into a part-time channel. The satcaster made the switch on June 1, again without letting anyone know.
"When I recently went to check what 3D programming was on DirecTV, I noticed something unusual in the program guide: The n3D channel, which DirecTV launched in conjunction with Panasonic back in 2010, had no current listings," wrote James K. Wilcox, the author of the Consumer Report online article.
With n3D in part-time status, the Sony/Discovery/Imax channel, 3net, is the only full-time 3D Network left on DIRECTV. ESPN 3D is a full-time channel, but DIRECTV has decided to run that as a part-timer as well. (No, there was no announcement on that, either.)
This is quite a change for DIRECTV which once proclaimed that 3DTV would be the next big thing in television. The satcaster invested considerable marketing and infrastructure dollars into making 3D TV a hit.
But sales of 3D TV sets have been disappointing -- and 3D TV viewing numbers have been a disaster. While precise ratings are unavailable, it appears that most 3DTV set owners never get around to actually watching 3D for a variety of reasons, from those uncomfortable glasses to limited content to, in some cases, headache and nausea-inducing experiences. (Yes, people get sick watching 3D TV. Physically sick.)
Rather than keeping their eye on building its HD channel lineup, DIRECTV decided a few years ago to focus on 3D. It's now clear that that was a big mistake, even if DIRECTV will never acknowledge it.
The satcaster, of course, will air the 2012 Summer Olympics in 3D. (The advertising sponsorships have already been signed, you understand.) But I suspect that after the Olympics, the satcaster will continue to shrink away from its 3D commitment, albeit quietly.
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