Networks announce Electronic Programme Guide

Like a slumbering bear, the commercial Free To Air networks seem to have finally awoken from hibernation to the rapidly expanding digital age and announced an FTA electronic program guide (EPG).

Channels Nine and TEN will be transmitting data by as early as next Monday. Seven will join from January 1st.

Prime and NBN will also join as of Monday, with Southern Cross added one week later.

An EPG is already provided by the ABC, SBS and WIN.

Each network will be providing up to 7 days program data which is expected to be receivable free of charge by any digital set top box, integrated television or personal video recorder (PVR) that has an EPG functionality.

The Nine Network famously took legal action against ICE TV for supplying an EPG which it claimed was a copyright infringement. Nine lost the case.

Press Release:

Commercial Free TV broadcasters announced today that they will all be openly broadcasting program listing information by 1 January 2008, creating Australia’s first free electronic program guide (EPG).

Networks Nine and TEN will transmit their program data from Monday, 19 November, and the Seven Network is expected to commence from 1 January 2008.

WIN Television has started providing its 7 day EPG. Prime and NBN will commence on Monday 19 November and Southern Cross on 26 November.

Each network will be providing up to 7 days program data which is expected to be receivable free of charge by any digital set top box, integrated television or personal video recorder (PVR) that has an EPG functionality.

David Leckie, Chairman of FreeTV Australia said: “This is an exciting new initiative for the free-to-air digital platform which will provide a compelling consumer offering that will further drive take-up of free digital television.”

Julie Flynn, the chief executive officer of Free TV Australia added: “This is a great benefit for consumers who will find it easier than ever to plan their Free TV viewing and never miss their favourite shows.

“Just as Free TV networks reach every household in Australia, we want our program data to be out there as well.

“This initiative will also accelerate take-up of free-to-view digital television, which given the rate of adoption, is now certainly in more than 30 per cent of Australian homes.”

Today’s announcement builds on Free TV’s announcement earlier this year that broadcasters would be providing EPG data under licence to EPG service providers.

Ms Flynn added that although Free TV networks were agreeing to transmit the data free and unencrypted, broadcasters reserved all their rights with respect to copyright and protection of intellectual property.

Note: The ABC and SBS are already broadcasting EPG data and Free TV will continue to work with them.

5 Comments:

  1. Personally, I just use the Foxtel digital guide, but with Seven being too stubborn to join up it does get annoying not having their listings.

    I have a digital television, how do you access these listings?

  2. And the “clever country” finally gets digital TV EPGs. The last country in the digital world, in fact, to get what is considered a basic service everywhere else.

    And yep, it only took the networks seven years of plummeting viewership to realise that they might get more viewers if people actually knew what was on.

    By the way, that last line in the official press release is incorrect. SBS does not offer an EPG, and never has. The ABC is the only network to do so (theirs, due to the usual budgetary limitations, is manually entered by a single staff member and only goes a couple of days ahead).

  3. Does this mean the end of pay services like iceTV? Ice offers things like remote scheduling from the net to record programs – will this be possible with free guides or is that the bit thats worth the $$$ with iceTV?

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