Content overload will increase importance of EPGs

Thousands of TV programmes, catch-up TV VOD archives, Internet-TV services, video-sharing platforms and personal content currently compete for audiences. With such a huge range of content, the EPG is being promoted to the increasingly important role of an entertainment guide for content-overloaded digital living rooms. That's according to the report 'EPGs and TV Middleware Applications: Market Assessment and Forecasts to 2014'. The report, a collaboration between media analysts Screen Digest and consulting firm Goldmedia.

Fifty-nine million households in Western Europe were equipped with EPGs at the end of 2008, a penetration of 36 per cent of all TV households. This number will grow 19 per cent yearly between 2008 and 2014 so that nearly three quarters of all TV households will have access to EPGs in 2014. The report has identified about 300 EPGs on the different platforms in Western Europe. These include EPGs in set-top boxes from pay-TV and infrastructure providers, online EPGs from TV guide magazines, TV platform providers, online providers and mobile EPGs.

A large number of players operate in the EPG market, covering various areas of the value chain: content providers; TV platform operators; middleware, application and end-device vendors. A variety of companies are responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of EPGs, including technical service and programme data providers.

“The traditional market for EPGs is in broadcast TV and it is likely to remain that way, but we are finding increased interest from non-traditional vendors including some of the largest consumer electronics and media companies. The lines are starting to blur and where content is sourced outside of pay-TV operators new entrants such as Apple, Sony, and Microsoft have an opportunity to provide branding and control into the living rooms. As hybrid services, home networking and multiple content sources become more mainstream, the EPG will be central in gaining control of our entertainment choices.” said Tom Morrod, Senior Analyst, Screen Digest.

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