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ESPN World Cup viewing study indicates viewers enjoy 3D more, ESPN 3D is 'on course'


ESPN picked today to release the results of what it's calling "one of the most in-depth studies on 3DTV to date,"and not a moment too soon, in the midst of a media frenzy over statements that its just-launched 3D network still has yet to see a return on investment. After conducting over 1,000 test sessions during World Cup 2010 at the Disney Media and Ad Lab in Austin, TX, the news seems a bit more positive, with stats from 3D viewers (and 2D control groups) indicating that reported enjoyment increased from 65 percent to 70 percent, while "presence" (feeling of being there) went from 42 percent to 69 percent with 3D. Check our bullet pointed notes from the presentation and the press release after the break for more statistical breakdowns, but as far as the viability of ESPN 3D, VP of Business Development Bryan Burns was careful to note that ESPN 3D is going "just as planned," and is well ahead of the pace set by ESPN HD just a few months after its launch in 2003.

  • No difference in enjoyment/involvement/presence between active/passive glasses
  • Passive glasses were more comfortable, less likely to interfere with interacting with others, very little diff. in eye fatigue or headaches
  • Some test sessions consisted of up to 8 hours of 3D watching, with live, or close to live, World Cup games being aired
  • Found no adverse affect on depth perception over a five day period of repeated viewing
  • Stereopsis negatively correlated with 3D experience -- the worse your real world depth perception was, the more likely you were to enjoy 3DTV, theorize that people with poor depth perception may be more used to compensating for it
  • Health effects (headaches, eye strain) decreased after repeated viewing on different days, but did not decrease during a single extended session, taking breaks helped
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ESPN Announces Results of Comprehensive 3D Study
Posted by phillipsa • November 4, 2010 • Printer-friendly

Continuing to innovate in the 3D television space, ESPN Research + Analytics unveiled today one of the most in-depth studies on 3D TV to date. Compiling results from more than 1,000 testing sessions and 2,700 lab hours, ESPN has concluded that fans are comfortable with the medium and even enjoy it more than programming in HD. The research was conducted by Dr. Duane Varan, professor of New Media at Murdoch University, during ESPN's coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the Disney Media and Ad Lab in Austin, Texas.

The research employed an experimental design approach including the use of perception analyzers, eye gaze and electrodermal activity. The study focused on a multitude of topics including overall viewing enjoyment, fatigue and novelty effects, technology differences, production issues and advertising impact. In all over 700 measures were processed during the testing. The Ad Lab used five different 3D manufacturers in its testing.

"The results from this comprehensive research project support what we have said time and time again – fans have a higher level of enjoyment when viewing 3D. Plus, for advertisers, this study provides good news on the level of fan engagement when viewing 3D ads," said Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president of ESPN Research + Analytics. "This study will help us continue to develop ESPN 3D as an industry leader for event-based 3D viewing."

Key Findings:

3D TV ads can be more effective

* In testing the Ad Lab showed viewers the same ads in 2D and 3D. 3D ads produced significantly higher scores across all ad performance metrics – generally maintaining a higher level of arousal than the 2D counterpart.
* Participants showed better recall of the ad in 3D:
o Cued recall went from 68% to 83%
o On average, purchase intent increased from 49% to 83%
o Ad liking went from 67% to 84

Fans enjoy 3D

The results showed a higher level of viewer enjoyment, engagement with the telecast and a stronger sense of presence with the 3D telecasts.

o Enjoyment increased from 65% to 70% in 3D while presence went from 42% to 69%

Passive vs. Active

* With all things equal, there were no major differences between passive and active 3D TV sets for overall impact however, passive glasses were rated as more comfortable and less distracting by participants.

Depth Perception

* The study found that there were no adverse effects on depth perception (stereopsis).
* It appeared that there is an acclimation effect whereby participants adjust to 3D over time under normal use.

True 3D vs. 2D

* Participants showed much more favorable responses to true 3D images than to 2D.

About the ESPN 3D Research Study

Conducted over the course of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, this is one of the most ambitious studies of 3D viewing to date. Participants were tested prior to 3D viewing, in test and post test to garner a wide range of information. Testing was completed at the Disney Media & Advertising Lab which was developed to better understand the emotional drivers of audience behavior and physiological reactions to advertising. The facility conducts year-round tests using the most advanced research techniques including biometric measurement tolls to evaluate engagement and emotional responses. This research was conducted by Professor Duane Varan, Executive Director and Chief Research Officer of the Disney Media & Advertising Lab, and his staff. Varan is recognized as a global innovator in iTV applied research and as one of the foremost authorities on new media. He is the Executive Director of the Interactive Television Research Institute and holds the inaugural chair in New Media at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.

ESPN's Bryan Burns on 3D: "Now's the time"
Posted by phillipsa • November 4, 2010 • Printer-friendly

Bryan Burns, VP of Strategic Business Planning, shared the following thoughts on the state of 3D television as part of his introductory remarks for the ESPN 3D Research event today in New York:

Two days ago at the Blu-con conference in Los Angeles, James Cameron, who produced Avatar in 3D and just announced Avatar 2 and 3 would be produced in 3D, said "3D is a renaissance that will be fueled not by movies, but by live sports, music and comedy." Interesting. He went on to say, "the launch of HDTV wasn't a flirtation, it's now pretty ubiquitous, and 3D will be the same." He also said, "I hate golf, but things like The Masters golf will woo mass audiences." ESPN, of course, produced The Masters in 3D last spring.

With ESPN 3D, we're right where we thought we would be. In the last week we have announced the addition of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, and announced the carriage of 16 college basketball games which include marquis teams like Kansas, Michigan State, Syracuse, Memphis and Notre Dame. We hope you have seen some of what we have done. It's truly groundbreaking.

With HD seven years ago, we said we would do 100 events in the first year. Last January 5th, with 3D, we said the very same thing, and our preliminary planning, not all of which has been announced, is tracking right toward the high 90's.

We air our 38th 3D telecast this Saturday, when we show second ranked Boise State. The quality of our college football schedule has been nothing short of spectacular. We've showed top ranked teams including Oregon and Ohio State, and have showed important games that are having real impact on the post season. By the end of this month, we will have produced a dozen college basketball games and more college football as we head to the Christmas, when half of the televisions sold in the United States each year are purchased in the holiday selling season. Now's the time, and we know that.

We have 62.5M "available to" households, which is the number of ESPN households covered by the distributors with which we have ESPN 3D under contract. This is way, way ahead of where we were with HD at a comparable date in 2003.

We're on course. Just as planned. We're very pleased.

15 years ago I walked in the door here at ESPN and on the same day another fellow arrived at the same time. He's had a big impact on our company over the years, and he has big impact here every day, as he has become from our perspective the preeminent executive in his field. We don't do a lot at ESPN without checking in with Artie. We're all about serving sports fans, at our core it is what we do. And when we need to know how sports fans think about something, or how they are reacting to what we're doing in some area, he gets the call. He's become an extremely important and valuable member of our executive team, and he's here today to tell you about an exciting effort we undertook last summer as we rolled out ESPN 3D from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Please say hello to ESPN's Senior Vice President of Research and Analytics, Mr. Artie Bulgrin...

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