ESPN Study: Users Prefer Sports in 3D

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ESPN Research + Analytics unveiled an in-depth studies on 3D television to date. The study compiled results from over 1,000 testing sessions and 2,700 lab hours. With this study ESPN has concluded that fans are comfortable with 3D television and even enjoy it more than standard programming in HD. This 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 researchers used an experimental design approach which included the use of perception analyzers, eye gaze and electrodermal activity. The study focused on many different topics including overall viewing enjoyment, fatigue and novelty effects, technology differences, production issues, and advertising impact. In all, 700 measures were processed during the testing, according to ESPN. The Ad Lab used five different 3D manufacturers in its testing.

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There were several key findings of the study.

First, 3D television ads can be more effective. In testing the Ad Lab showed viewers the same ads in 2D and 3D. According to the study, 3D ads produced significantly higher scores across all ad performance metrics. Participants showed better recall of the ad in 3D. Cued recall went from 68% to 83%. Ad liking increased from 67% to 84% which led to purchase intent increasing from 49% to 83%.

ESPN has also concluded that fans enjoy 3D. The results of the study claim a higher level of viewer enjoyment, engagement with the telecast, and a stronger sense of presence with the 3D telecasts. Enjoyment increased from 65% to 70% in 3D while presence went from 42% to 69%.

The study compared passive and active technologies. With all things equal, there were no major differences between passive and active 3D television sets. However, passive glasses were rated as more comfortable and less distracting by participants.

As far as depth perception goes, the study found that there were no adverse effects on depth perception. The study concluded that there is an acclimation effect whereby participants adjust to 3D over time under normal use.

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