Royal wedding could be broadcast in 3D

2010-12-02 07:23

London – Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB wants to add an extra dimension to the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The satellite broadcaster is considering bringing a 3D signal to British cinemas and 3D TV-enabled homes as a way of generating outstanding coverage of an event that could have the biggest global audience in TV history.

Discussions with royal advisers have not begun, “but if the planets align, then this is the kind of big-event TV that would definitely be a contender for our strategy of offering 3D coverage,’’ says a Sky insider.

Sky has shown Premier League soccer in 3D for more than a year, and it aired the UK election leaders’ debate, operas, concerts, ballet and the ATP tennis finals on its own 3D channel. The 3D service can only be accessed by the 3 million-plus homes with Sky’s high definition set-top box (and 3D glasses).

The strategy is indicative of the worldwide scramble as broadcasters plan coverage of the first royal wedding of the multimedia age.

“I think it is going to be a major event for many, people in this country and around the world,’’ says BBC director of vision Jana Bennett, who oversees the pubcaster’s television, radio and online content.

Video of the Westminster Abbey ceremony will likely be made available free to accredited broadcasters around the world. The BBC is looking at filming and broadcasting the event in HD, and Bennett thinks it might be a driver for HD services.

“It could be a bit like the (1953) Coronation when TV sets were turned on for the first time in so many million of households,’’ she says.

Nearly 1 billion viewers worldwide tuned into the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer – then broadcast by the BBC in an era when both the UK and the US had just three national TV channels.

Diana’s 1997 funeral was watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide, making it the most-viewed TV event ever.

Given the number of TV channels, online video outlets and social networking sites, viewership totals for the Prince William wedding will likely eviscerate previous records.

“We haven’t gotten into the logistics of how all the media feeds will work,’’ a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said.

BBC, ITV and Sky News are all planning live coverage, as are a host of broadcasters in the U.S. and around the world. But despite the high tune-in, the Royal Wedding – in 3D or not – likely won’t generate a huge payday for broadcasters because the event will air live.

– Hollywood Reporter

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