3 Trends That Will Transform the EPG
But like the rest of the TV industry, the EPG is on the brink of change. At MIPCOM, Bill Patrizio, CEO of Red Bee Media predicted that “...the EPG is we know it today is going to continue to exist, but it’s going to go through a mass transformation.”
So what will the EPG become? Instead of seeing the top channels listed in order, expect a more personal experience that is less linear-centric; Search and recommendations may well become key to the next user experience.
Changes to the EPG are already being driven by three key trends that are gradually impacting the TV industry from top to bottom:
1. The InternetLinear broadcast is still the primary way we watch television. Sitting back, relaxing, and flipping on the television fills a distinct place in society. However, increasing Internet speeds and the growing adoption of connected TVs mean that the way that people watch TV could change significantly over the next five years.
However, one only has to look at the UK broadband infrastructure to see that there’s a long way to go before everything can be delivered over IP. The average connection speed worldwide is still quite slow in a lot of areas of the world.
On the other hand, by 2013 it's predicted that the majority of European households will own a connected TV. Connectivity will enable the EPG to become richer by pulling in detailed content from over the top. It is already becoming much easier to bring in related content, and help viewers find TV shows that are relevant to them.
2. VOD AccessibilityOnline video now generates more internet traffic than any other category of content; by 2013, it’s predicted that video will account for 90% of all web traffic.
Already, 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube alone every minute – equal to what all major US broadcasters have broadcast in the last 60 years.
As the internet makes VOD and catch-up TV more accessible, the clutter of content becomes a bigger issue. Viewers will need to be guided to the most relevant content to them, no matter if it’s on catch-up or linear. As the TV landscape changes, the EPG may start to bridge the gap between linear and video – through search, recommendations, and editorial suggestions.
3. The Rise of Connected DevicesThe mobile and digital technology researcher Mobile Interactive Group has predicted that smartphone adoption will drive TV and mobile multi-tasking in UK and US. This will result in a more engaged audience, significantly increasing programme interaction and simplifying the personalisation process.
Using a second screen such as a mobile or tablet has become a common activity in many households: 62% of TV viewers pick up the phone as soon as TV advertising break starts.
For TV operators and broadcasters, the key is to keep viewers engaged in their programming at a deep level, even when ads play. Companion apps enable viewers to interact on a personal level with the TV content on their screen, without interrupting the TV experience for the group watching.
Television in the home is a shared device, and personalising a shared device is difficult. But we often see that people are multitasking while watching TV, so there’s an opportunity to use the second-screen to personalise and enhance the TV viewing experience. Companion apps can be used to create a deep, personalised EPG based on what’s playing on the TV now, favourites, and real-time social trends.
Where do you see the EPG in 5 years? 10 years?
Emma Wells, Marketing Manager