John Birt – Current EPGs To Become ‘Antediluvian’

Luke Gibbs of OfcomWatch is nestled in at Edinburgh Television Festival – listening, watching, reporting, and we suspect sipping the odd cocktail at the TV exec love-in.

Birt At Edinburgh - Current EPGs To Become Antediluvian!Most of Lord Birt’s speech in Edinburgh was numbingly dull – a long list of his own achievements, all of which had made UK television the best in the world. Indeed, the industry has seemingly only hit the dumbing down buffers since he went off to tinker with various policy train sets at Number 10.

Birt At Edinburgh - Current EPGs To Become Antediluvian!However, he did manage to mention a couple of issues which aren’t directly about himself. For example, he said the following in regard to EPG’s, searching and the gateways to information – this is already a fundamental issue for regulators and one where we all need to pay close attention as to how they look to regulate…

“…there will be taxing new issues for the regulators. The electronic programme guides that currently help us navigate the multi-channel universe are not even currently fit-for-purpose and will be antediluvian in an on-demand world. Compare the current generation of slow, clunky television EPGs with Google. If I want to know which live football matches are on TV tonight I have to embark on a slow, manual search through multiple channels. With Google I can find a needle in a haystack in less than a second – the fruits of a search of literally billions of items.

So time to think again about not only the nature of the search and navigation gateway into the television digital universe, but who should control it? How can we ensure a level playing field for all programme and service providers? Should regulators encourage competing search and navigation systems in the television domain? How will the viewer find ready access to the public service offerings?”