Time Warner Cable to Charge Extra for ESPN 3D?


A notice on Time Warner Cable’s site for New York/New Jersey says, “On or about November 22, 2010 we will launch ESPN 3D on ch. 420. This new service will be part of our Time Warner Cable 3D Pass package.”

Does that mean TWC will be offering ESPN 3D as part of a premium 3DTV tier? A Time Warner Cable spokeswoman wouldn’t comment, saying the company has an announcement on the channel set for Monday.

Carriage of ESPN 3D was part of the broad agreement TWC and Disney reached in September (see Disney, Time Warner Cable Finalize Programming Deal).

Of the affiliates that have launched ESPN 3D to date, AT&T is charging $10 per month extra for the 3D Technology Package, which includes ESPN 3D and several 3D movies. Comcast and DirecTV have not put the channel in a premium tier, making ESPN 3D available to HD subscribers. (Comcast says, “While there is currently no additional charge for 3D, customers must contact Comcast to enable access to the 3D programming.”)

According to a CTAM survey conducted this summer, consumers are willing to pay more for 3D — respondents cited an average of $20 per month, with a range of $5 to $40 (see 3DTV Tickles Interest But Most Consumers Aren’t Sold Yet: Survey).  I’d add, though, that actions speak louder than words and clearly take rates will depend on the quality and quantity of stuff that’s in a 3D premium tier.

Separately, ESPN’s flagship channel is absent from TWC’s stripped-down economy package, TV Essentials, which the MSO is to start testing next week in New York and in Northeastern Ohio on Dec. 15.

Hat tip to loyal reader BillyMets for the link!