As we mentioned 1/5 in our “ESPN 3D” story, Discovery Communications, Sony Corporation and IMAX Corporation –announced a JV (via a non-binding Letter of Intent) to develop a 24/7 dedicated 3D television network in the U.S. The partnership brings together three leaders with an extraordinary collection of award-winning 3D content, technology expertise, television distribution and operational strength to deliver a high-quality three-dimensional viewing experience to home television audiences.
“Discovery’s business strategy has always focused on delivering groundbreaking content through new platforms, including the first suite of digital channels launched in 1996 and the first 24/7 basic cable HD channel in 2002,” said Discovery Founder and Chairman John Hendricks. “Now, as Discovery celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2010 as the world leader in satisfying curiosity and bringing audiences the most realistic viewing experience, we continue to change the face of television with the launch of the first-ever 24/7 dedicated 3D television network.”
“By partnering with Sony and IMAX on 3D, Discovery will lead the way in revolutionizing the next-generation home viewing experience in the U.S. and around the world,” said Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav. “Today’s announcement is the next step in fulfilling Discovery’s mission of providing groundbreaking content for our affiliate partners and enlightening viewers with the most immersive and realistic viewing experience available anywhere.”
Each will be equal partners. It will be launched in the U.S., with a goal of driving consumer adoption of 3D televisions and giving the network long-term leadership in the 3D home marketplace. In the future, the companies also will explore international distribution opportunities in selected markets.
The new 3D network will feature high-quality premium content from genres that are most appealing in 3D, including natural history, space, exploration, adventure, engineering, science and technology, motion pictures and children’s programming from Discovery, Sony Pictures Entertainment, IMAX and other third-party providers.
Discovery will provide network services, including affiliate sales and technical support functions, as well as 3D television rights to Discovery content and cross-promotion across its portfolio of 13 U.S. television networks. Sony will provide ad/sponsorship sales support, and will seek to license television rights to current and future 3D feature films, music-related 3D content and game-related 3D content, while providing cross-promotion at retail stores. IMAX also will license television rights to future 3D films, promotion through its O&O movie theaters across the U.S., and a suite of proprietary and patented image enhancement and 3D technologies.
Governance for the joint venture will be handled by a board of directors comprised of members from each of the three companies, with the day-to-day operations run by a separate staff and management team that will report to the board. A search for the venture’s GM will begin immediately.