Marketers Face Zooming Costs as ESPN Launches 3-D Channel

Walt Disney Co.’s (DIS) ESPN network has convinced three major advertisers to produce expensive 3-D commercials for its new sports channel debuting Friday with the 2010 World Cup broadcast.

It is the first major test of marketers’ appetite for 3-D pitches. Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), Sony Corp. (SNE) and Disney’s Pixar will all experiment with spots on the new 3-D sports channel. ESPN has previously aired several 3-D telecasts, including the Masters Tournament.

Trying to convince the ad industry to embrace the in-your-face technology is tough. Ad executives say 3-D ads are costly and represent a time-consuming effort since there are so few production firms skilled enough to create these types of spots.

Prices to create regular, 30-second ads, for major marketers, can cost between $500,000 to $1 million and 3-D commercials can increase the price by 30 to 40 percent, say ad executives.

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