CES: Discovery, Sony, IMAX Officially Debut '3net'

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As expected, the 3D network joint venture of Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX announced "3net" as the name of its 24-hour channel set to debut in early 2011 and detailed additional programming -- but the trio weren't prepared to talk about carriage deals yet.

The venture, announced a year ago at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, will be called 3net, as previously reported by Multichannel News. The network had been operating under the placeholder name of 3DNet Co. LLC.

3net will feature what the partners boasted will be the world's largest library of native 3D television content. The announcement was made during Sony's press event here at CES.

3NET logo

Discovery founder and chairman John Hendricks compared the forthcoming 3D network to the cable programmer's commitment to HD over the past decade. In the same way, "3net takes that commitment to the next level for consumers, affiliates and advertisers with the closest to real-life experience that TV has to offer -- 3D," Hendricks said in a statement.

For Sony, "3net is a critical component of the growth of 3D, as it will deliver a rich array of immersive, high-quality programming directly to consumers," Sony president and CEO Sir Howard Stringer commented.

While 3net has not announced any affiliate deals yet, 3net president and CEO Tom Cosgrove said: "We are continuing to work closely with our internal and external partners to position 3net as the preeminent player in the 3D television space as we move towards launch."

Separately, ESPN this week said it will take its event-based 3D channel to 24-hour operation on Feb. 14, although for now the vast majority of the content will be replays of previous games and events. ESPN 3D is carried by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse TV, with Verizon FiOS TV to add it sometime in 2011.

The 3net partners said the network's joint leadership board is comprised of senior executives from Sony (Rob Wiesenthal, executive vice president and CFO of Sony Corp. and executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Sony Entertainment; and Andy Kaplan, president of networks for Sony Pictures Television); Discovery (Peter Liguori, chief operating officer, and Bruce Campbell, chief development officer and general counsel); and IMAX (Rob Lister, senior executive vice president and general counsel).

The additional series and programs announced for 3net include the original series Experience 3D (working title), described as a "fast-paced, hour-long thrill-ride" that takes viewers "behind the wheel, into the sky, across the seas and more on this once-in-a-lifetime journey featuring some of the wildest experiences life has to offer." The series is being produced in native 3D by Arena Films.

Also set to for 3net's lineup are the exclusive U.S. premieres of Hubble 3D, an IMAX and Warner Bros. Pictures film produced in cooperation with NASA; In The Qube 3D, an original series covering 3D movie and television entertainment, gaming and technology produced by Sony Pictures Television in association with Chomp Productions and Jump! Creative; and Discovery's Wildebeest Migration, a "journey across the great plains of Africa" produced by Electric Sky Productions.

That programming will join the lineup of original 3D series, theatricals and U.S. premieres previously announced by the network, including: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Into the Deep 3D, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D, Monster House, Space Station 3D and The Haunted.

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