The Australian Communications and Media Authority has told Free to Air Networks to lift their game on Electronic Program Guides (EPGs).
ACMA says some networks are meeting minimum criteria for an adequate EPG, but that “several” networks are not.
It declined to name them.
The four key criteria are:
• is free of charge and in a format that can be accessed by all free-to-air digital TV reception equipment
• includes program schedule information for a minimum of seven days
• includes program classification information
• includes accurate information about the present and following programs being aired, including their start times.
“Two years of steady progress have seen all of the five networks reliably meeting three out of the ACMA’s four key criteria for an adequate EPG,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
“Results of our monitoring in July 2010 show that several networks are now also reliably meeting the final criterion of accurate present/following data, which is vital for the effective operation of the parental lock function in digital television receivers,” he said.
“‘Time is starting to run out. The decision to mandate parental lock as a standard feature of all receivers from February next year, means audiences will have all the more reason to expect a fully-functional EPG to support this application.”
ACMA will publish monthly monitoring results on this final criterion and publish monitoring results on all other criteria on a quarterly basis.
But while ACMA neglects to name and shame networks and admits networks have had two years to get their EPGs in order, readers of TV Tonight recently indicated in its Audience Inventory that ‘Keeping an EPG up to date’ was one of their biggest concerns.
An onscreen EPG was also voted the most popular form of Guide while Seven was voted the biggest culprit in late starting times.